cheap doc marten boots campaigns keep the cash flowing long after Congress members left office
They were voted out of office, retired or even died.
But the campaign spending is very much alive for these former members of Congress, paying for pet projects and what some critics call personal gain.
An analysis of Federal Election Commission records by KHOU 11 Investigates, TEGNA owned sister stations and the “Tampa Bay Times,” discovered more than 100 former federal lawmakers with questionable campaign spending long after they left office.
Consider former Texas Congressman Ron Paul. After his failed 2012 presidential bid, Paul left office with a large leftover campaign fund.
Ron Paul during a rally in 2012.
But outside, he didn’t want to talk about spending that political piggy bank outside his office in Clute, Texas. with $287,200 since he left office. and $40,493 as treasurer of her father’s campaign that was dead.
Pyett did not return a request for comment.
“I think it smells to me,” said voter Frank Fontana.
It doesn’t pass the smell test at the Yale Street Grill in the Heights, where the coffee is strong and so are political opinions.
“I think his daughter should work for somebody else,” Fontana said.
“It’s not fair to those who contributed,
” voter John Warner added.
“These guys are like putting the fox in the hen house,” said voter George Polydoros.
There are Federal Election Commission rules against “personal use” of campaign cash. But “personal” is narrowly define. And while retired lawmakers are encouraged to wind down campaign accounts within six months, there are cases like former Texas Congressman Jim Turner. He has nearly $900,000 in is campaign war chest today, but hasn’t held office since 2004.
KHOU: “It’s been more than a dozen years.”
Turner: “I’ve always felt I might have an opportunity to run for office again.”
In the meantime, Turner’s campaign account paid:
$10,000 to a non profit his daughter runs. $14,400 in rent for an office at his family’s construction business.
“It is always important to remember that the laws governing office holder use of funds are written by office holders, and so they write them loose,” Jillson said.
Zombie campaigns: Read the full investigation
So they can spend fast and loose.
“At the end of the day, you’re either writing it out of your own pocket or a campaign fund that’s leftover. It’s really it’s from you, so it really doesn’t matter,” Bonilla said.
It doesn’t even matter that campaign cash keeps flowing after lawmakers died. Our investigation found a half dozen politicians who passed away,
but the cash in their campaign accounts was flowing after their deaths.