Des Moines Register: Steve King employs family as year-round campaign staff, an unusual approach in Congress
U.S. Rep. Steve King employs his son and daughter-in-law as full-time campaign staffers, and has paid them more than $805,000 since 2004, records show.
Although typically legal, an arrangement paying close family members year-round for congressional campaign work for more than a decade is unusual in several respects, experts said.
Still, campaign finance expert Brendan Fischer, of the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, questioned the regular, twice-monthly payments Jeff King in particular has received regardless of the election calendar.
“That strikes me as a red flag,” Fischer said. “The fact that he’s paid a significant amount in election years and non-election years certainly looks like an indication that he is being paid for more than the services actually provided to the campaign.”
“If a candidate is using campaign funds to subsidize their family’s lifestyle, the money looks less like a campaign contribution and looks more like a bribe,” Fischer said. “A campaign contribution poses a much greater risk of corruption if it’s used for one’s personal benefit versus getting one’s message out to voters.”