Chicago Tribune: Sen. Mark Kirk's aide: From caregiver to campaign worker


Paul S. Ryan, senior counsel for the Washington, D.C.-based Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan group that supports campaign finance reform, said politicians cannot use campaign money to pay for personal expenses. Ryan said the Federal Election Commission has what is known as the “irrespective test” in determining whether campaign funds were illegally converted for personal use.

“If the expense existed irrespective of whether Sen. Kirk was a candidate or officeholder, then he cannot pay for it with campaign funds,” Ryan said. “It seems to me that Sen. Kirk had these home care expenses irrespective of his candidacy.”

Ryan, the campaign expert, said the ethics committee has no say over federal campaign law. “The place to get an opinion about what is proper is to go the Federal Election Commission,” he said. “Before you use campaign funds, before it becomes questioned, you should go to the FEC.”

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