Money In Politics: Congressional PACs Are Personal Slush Funds’ Used For Disneyland And Luxury Hotels, Watchdog Alleges
Millions of dollars collected by congressional “leadership PACs” in the names of ranking elected officials, which were supposed to have been used to help less-prominent candidates get elected, have been splashed out on lavish entertainment, luxury hotels, trips to Disneyland and other perks for politicians and their friends and families—against the spirit of campaign finance rules, according to a petition to the Federal Election Commission.
Congressional spending sprees in the third quarter of 2018 alone included at least $124,162 blown at the luxury Greenbrier resort in West Virginia; $160,809 at St. Regis resorts; $53,165 at Ritz Carlton hotels; $46,121 at Charlie Palmer Steak restaurant in Washington, D.C.; and $19,760 at Disney properties. That's according to a letter sent to the FEC by the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan government watchdog, and former elected officials.
CLC federal reform program director Brendan Fischer told Newsweek the leadership PACs amounted to a “slush fund.” Unlike a candidate’s authorized political action committee, which caps individual contributions at $2,700 per election, individuals can contribute up to $5,000 per year to a member's leadership PAC—even if they have already donated the maximum to that member's campaign. That means that in a two-year election cycle, an individual donating to both PACs can fork over more than $15,000 to a House candidate. Senators—with a six-year election cycle—can take in just $5,400 from an individual donor to their campaign committee, but individual donors can donate $30,000 to each Senate leadership PAC.
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