Politco: Stearns uses campaign account to pay personal expenses — 5 years after leaving Congress


 Former Rep. Cliff Stearns’ congressional campaign committee has evolved into an investment account that he uses to fund a host of personal expenses that may raise legal questions, according to campaign finance experts.


“That to me seems flat out illegal,” said Adav Noti, a former attorney with the Federal Election Commission, in reference to the Capitol Hill Club membership expense. “I’m racking my brain to think of a legal use here.”

In reviewing the committee's expenditures, Noti, who spent more than 10 years in the FEC's general counsels office, said Stearns' filings in general were unusual.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” said Noti, who is now the Campaign Legal Center’s director of trial litigation and strategy. The center is a Washington-based non-partisan organization.

He said the center may file a complaint with the FEC for "the apparent violations of the personal-use prohibition.” The FEC prohibits the use of campaign funds for personal use.

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