CNN: Dormant Campaign of Top White House Official Paid Out $50,000 Last Year
When Mick Mulvaney left Congress to join President Donald Trump's Cabinet in early 2017, he kept his re-election bank account alive and has spent more than $50,000 from it since, including donations to several Republican lawmakers the White House was lobbying.
A watchdog group and a former Federal Election Commission official say the account's expenditures raise ethical questions about how a senior member of the Trump White House used his leftover campaign funds.
"I don't think it's legally improper," said Larry Noble, who spent 13 years as the top attorney at the FEC and is now senior director and general counsel at the Campaign Legal Center. "It raises appearance issues of a member of the administration using their campaign committee to potentially influence members of Congress."
"There is a concern when after the campaign is over you continue to use money for travel," Noble said. "If the travel is to support another candidate, which is permitted use of political funds, it would have to be reported as a political contribution to that candidate," Noble said.
Noble called the expenses "questionable." They include more than $2,500 combined to his former deputy chiefs of staff Eric Bedingfield and Al Simpson for "consulting" more than six months after his 2016 re-election campaign was over.