Washington Times: Senate pockets more than $4 million of campaign cash

Money used to give jobs to family members
“Given the low approval rating of Congress, any time politicians are seen as using public office for personal gain, it’s very damaging and dangerous for public democracy,” said Meredith McGehee, public policy director at the Campaign Legal Center.

According to Ms. McGehee, senators engaging in self-dealing practices may be mentally harkening back to a time when families always worked and earned together.

“I don’t think it serves the process well, because the members and candidates are the last people to even understand their own motives,” she said. “You hear members of Congress come back and say, ‘When I first started, I was running my campaign out of my garage, and my sister-in-law was doing the bookkeeping.’” ...

“It does facilitate access,” Ms. McGehee said. “Once you’re elected, then your family, in my view, should not be in the business of lobbying.”

Four bills have already been proposed in Congress that include provisions to prevent members of Congress from converting funds for personal use.

But according to Ms. McGehee, other steps can be taken to prevent Congress members from using campaign money for personal gain.

“The first thing that could be done would be to revise the personal use rules to cover self-dealing transactions,” Ms. McGehee said. “That would not necessarily require congressional actions, and it would cover a multitude of sins.”

To read the full article at the Washington Times, click here.