OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Rep. Maxine Waters, a California Democrat who doesn’t have much of a legislative resume despite being a member of Congress since the early 1990s, laid into Republicans and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in an over-the-top rant during a Sunday appearance on MSNBC.
In an interview with Jonathan Capehart, Waters, 85, questioned the patriotism of the entire Republican Party while claiming they were destroying the country after the host played a similarly disturbing rant from DNC chair Jaime Harrison on the same network, during which he called McCarthy “weak” and “feckless.”
But Waters went even beyond that, describing McCarthy as “pathetic” and “begging on his knees” in order to survive his own party. “It is more than pathetic,” she said.
She then went on to falsely claim — without ever being challenged by Capehart — that Republicans are “devastating this country” and attacking “children and veterans and seniors,” and “literally almost eliminating education in this country.”
“They’re not patriots,” Waters said. “They are basically not only disrupting this country, they are destroying it.”
“They cannot claim patriotism anymore,” she said. “For the Republicans, patriotism is lost. It’s gone.”
"[The GOP] are not patriots, they are basically, not only disrupting this country, they're destroying it, and they cannot claim patriotism anymore. We, who fight for the people, claim patriotism" @RepMaxineWaters reacts to the budget cuts the Republicans want to make #SundayShow pic.twitter.com/sFtzlaJBt8
— The Saturday/Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart (@weekendcapehart) September 24, 2023
Most recently, Waters has been criticized for what appears to be blatant nepotism, paying a family member hundreds of thousands of dollars using campaign funds over the years.
In fact, Waters has paid her daughter over $1.2 million since 2004, which included the younger Waters getting another six figures in payments in the 2022 cycle.
“Karen Waters pocketed $192,300 from her mother’s campaign to keep her ‘slate mailer’ operation afloat between Jan. 2021 and Dec. 2022, a Fox News Digital review of Federal Election Commission filings shows. The setup involves outside campaigns paying Waters’ campaign to appear on the slate mailers – or endorsement mailers – sent out to constituents in the Los Angeles area,” Fox News reported.
“The practice is highly unusual on the federal level, and Waters appears to be the only national politician using it to grab committee cash. Slate mailers, however, are commonplace in her home state of California, though critics say it involves deceptive practices over one campaign paying another for a politician’s backing in an election. Waters received the green light to run the operation from the Federal Election Commission in the fall of 2004. Since then, Karen Waters has received more than $1.2 million in payments from her mother’s campaign,” the outlet added.
It’s legal for federal lawmakers to employ family members on campaigns, but the practice is frowned upon by ethics experts.
Now, Republicans are aiming to put a ban on lawmakers from putting family members on the campaign payroll after many prominent Democrats have been called out over the practice.
Earlier this year, Republican Texas Rep. Pat Fallon introduced legislation called the Family Integrity to Reform Elections Act, which would prevent campaign funds from going to a candidate’s immediate family.
The bill, if passed, would also make the candidate directly responsible for knowingly violating the provision.
“The Family Integrity to Reform Elections (FIRE) Act is a critical step to reducing nepotistic practices in American campaigns. Allowing direct family members to be on the take of campaigns must come to an end. For example, Maxine Waters, the worst perpetrator, has given her daughter over $1.1 million in campaign funds. This is utterly egregious, and I will not stand by as the integrity of our elections is further diminished,” Fallon told the Daily Caller.
“Maxine Waters [paid] $1.1 million to her daughter from campaign funds,” Fallon said in a statement. “Ilhan Omar, $2.9 million to her husband from campaign funds. James Clyburn, over $200,000 to multiple family members from his campaign.”
“The numbers speak for themselves,” Fallon added. “Americans are sick of politicians abusing their voters’ hard-earned money. This modern-day spoils system must end. My bill shines a light on shady campaign finance practices while punishing those who take advantage of these funds to enrich their families.”