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GOP Pushes Ban On Lawmakers Paying Family With Campaign Funds As Waters, Dems Under Fire

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


California Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters has paid her daughter over $1.2 million in total over the last decade and it’s all been legal.

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.

“The Family Integrity to Reform Elections (FIRE) Act, to be introduced by Rep. Pat Fallon (R-Texas) on Monday, would bar any candidate running for federal office from compensating immediate family members for campaign services,” the New York Post reported.

“It is currently legal for lawmakers to employ family members to work on campaigns. However, Federal Election Commission regulations prohibit paying candidate relatives a salary unless they are ‘providing bona fide services to the campaign” and the salary represents “fair market value of the services provided.’ The legislation – first reviewed by The Post – would extend the ban to any political committee ‘established, maintained or controlled by a candidate or an individual holding Federal office’ – blocking any current lawmaker from compensating a family member for working on their campaign,” the report added.

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“Fallon’s bill would also require campaigns to report any payments made to a candidate’s immediate family members. Relatives who fall under the proposed ban would include spouses, parents, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, and domestic partners as well as the spouses of campaign committee members. If the bill becomes law, any candidate who violates the ban would face a fine of either $100,000 for each violation or twice the amount paid to the family members — whichever is greater — and/or imprisonment for up to two years. The campaign committee would not be permitted to reimburse the candidate for any of the penalties,” the report continued.

“Maxine Waters [paid] $1.1 million to her daughter from campaign funds,” Fallon told The Post 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.”

Waters paid her daughter another $24,000 in campaign cash during the most recent quarter. Last year, Waters funneled more than $1 million from her various campaigns to her daughter Karen Waters.

However, Waters is not the only Democrat doing this.

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House Majority Whip James Clyburn, a Democrat from South Carolina, has paid his grandson $21,000 in campaign funds since April 1.

“Clyburn paid Walter A.C. Reed, the son of his daughter Jennifer Clyburn Reed and son-in-law Walter A. Reed, $21,000 during the Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) second fundraising quarter, the third-ranking House Democrat’s FEC filings show. Reed, a salaried employee of the Clyburn campaign, has been paid $58,500 by the Friends of Jim Clyburn campaign committee since October 2021. Friends of Jim Clyburn also paid $7,500 in rent to 49 Magnolia Blossom LLC, a corporate entity controlled by Jennifer Clyburn Reed and Walter A. Reed,” the Daily Caller reported.

Connecticut Democratic Rep. Jahana Hayes has also been paying her family tens of thousands of dollars with campaign funds since entering Congress. During the second quarter of this year, Hayes paid her son David Crenshaw $1,245.65 from her campaign fund. Since entering Congress, she has paid her son $18,283.08.

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Democratic Rep. Conor Lamb doled out nearly $100,000 in campaign cash to his brother to help lead his failed Pennsylvania Senate effort.

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