Campaign Legal Center Files Complaints Against Three Members of Congress Over Misuse of Leadership PAC Funds
Each of these three members spent less than 25% of their leadership PAC funds on political activity during the 2020 election cycle - instead spending funds on things like travel, meals and other luxuries – possibly violating House rules regarding personal use of campaign funds.
Washington, D.C. – Today, Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed complaints with the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) against three members of the U.S. House of Representatives – Reps. Mike Kelly (R-PA), Gwen Moore (D-WI) and Seth Moulton (D-MA) – urging the OCE to investigate whether these members violated House rules governing the personal use of campaign funds.
At issue is spending by the members’ respective leadership political action committees (PAC). While most members of Congress primarily use their leadership PACs to make political contributions, these members spent less than a quarter of their leadership PAC funds on politics while still managing to spend significant sums on things like travel, high-end dining and sporting events.
“The law is clear that campaign funds cannot be used for personal use. When voters see thousands of campaign dollars spent on resort traveling and entertainment, they question whether the law is enforced,” said Kedric Payne, general counsel and senior director of ethics at Campaign Legal Center. “Many leadership PACs look like slush funds, and that diminishes the public’s trust in our campaign finance system.”
Much of the foundation for these complaints was laid out by a report published by CLC and Issue One on September 30th, which examined the spending by every leadership PAC that was both affiliated with a member of Congress and active during the 2019-2020 election cycle. The report found that Moulton spent just 8% of leadership PAC funds on politics while Moore spent 12% and Kelly spent 22%.
When that money is spent to enrich members of Congress, it is also funding an erosion of public trust. The OCE has investigated members for converting leadership PAC funds for personal use in the near past. It must do so again with these three members.
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