Former Lawmakers Ask FEC to Stop Politicians From Using PACs as Personal 'Piggy Banks'
Last week the nonpartisan watchdogs Campaign Legal Center and Issue One released a report detailing how political fundraising entities known as leadership PACs have been exploited by politicians to pay for golfing events, fine dining, and luxury resort stays. Today the groups are filing a petition with the Federal Election Commission calling on the agency to explicitly ban using leadership PAC funds for personal use. They are joined by five former members of Congress, from both sides of the aisle: Rod Chandler (R-Wash.), Larry LaRocco (D-Idaho),Peter Smith (R-Vt.), Claudine Schneider (R-R.I.), and John Tanner (D-Tenn.)
“If many of these expenses had been paid for with campaign funds they would be illegal, but because they were paid for with leadership PAC funds it is less clear,” says Brendan Fischer, Campaign Legal Center’s program director. “But a leadership PAC is by definition a committee controlled by a candidate, and contributions to a candidate’s leadership PAC are indeed contributions accepted by a candidate. So we think what the FEC needs to do is simply clarify its rules to extend its personal use prohibition to leadership PACs.”