From filet mignon to a White House run, here's how N.J. lawmakers spend special interest-fueled 'slush funds'
More than 90 percent of federal lawmakers -- including 13 of 14 from New Jersey -- have gotten around limits on campaign contributions by setting up separate political action committees known as leadership PACs.
Unlike their campaign accounts, federal lawmakers can spend this money as they wish. They can help other politicians to gain influence. They can go on trips. Or, as in the case of U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, they can travel across America to boost their chances for a presidential run.
On average, less than half of the leadership PAC money collected by members of Congress is redistributed in the form of campaign contributions to other candidates, according to a study by Issue One and the Campaign Legal Center.