California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters, who has a history of paying millions to family members to work on her campaigns, has already doled out tens of thousands of dollars to her daughter, Karen Waters, this year alone.
According to the most recent Federal Election Commission data reviewed by Fox News, the lawmaker’s campaign paid her daughter about $74,000 through September, with the last quarter alone showing that the California Democrat paid her daughter $20,000, or “nearly a third of the median American household income” last year, according to Census Bureau data.
Since 2004, according to previous reporting, Maxine Waters’ campaigns have paid out more than $1.1 million to her daughter, but also to other family members.
During the 2020 election cycle, Karen Waters was paid a quarter of a million dollars, in part to conduct a slate-mailing campaign.
“Slate-mailing is an uncommon practice in federal elections, where a consulting firm is hired to create a pamphlet of sorts that contains a list of candidates or policy measures, and advises voters how to cast their ballots,” Fox News reported. “Rep. Waters was reportedly the only federal politician to use a slate-mailer operation during the 2020 general election.”
The Los Angeles Times noted in 2004 that Waters’ campaigns had paid out more than $1 million to other members of Waters’ extended family for work they did as well. At the time, the congresswoman distanced herself from those payouts.
“They do their business and I do mine. We are not bad people,” she told the paper.
Waters isn’t the only Democratic House member who has fallen under scrutiny regarding campaign payouts.
Before last fall’s elections, reports noted that Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota had doled out more than $1.7 million to E Street Group, a political consultancy that is owned by Tim Mynett, her husband, beginning in 2018. During the first three weeks of July 2020, as the campaign cycle kicked into high gear, Omar’s campaign paid about $600,000 to her husband’s firm in spite of a then-lingering Federal Election Commission complaint.
The National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) had filed a complaint in August 2019 charging that Omar’s campaign violated federal election laws after allegedly using campaign money to pursue an extra-marital affair with Mynett. At the time both were married to other people when they began a romantic relationship.
The NLPC complaint focused on a set of travel expenses paid out by Omar’s campaign to E Street Group beginning in April 2019. That timeframe aligned with claims that were made by Beth Mynett, Tim’s wife at the time, who noted in a divorce filing that he informed her on April 7, 2019, that he had become romantically involved with Omar.
In her divorce filing, Beth Mynett said her estranged husband’s “more recent travel and long work hours now appear to be more related to his affair with Rep. Omar than with his actual work commitments.”
Omar has faced other campaign finance issues as well.
A Minnesota campaign finance and disclosure board found in June 2019 that her campaign improperly spend thousands of dollars in donated funds on non-campaign-related expenses when she was still a state legislator. The board ordered her to personally reimburse her campaign for travel expenses out of state that she also claimed on her joint tax returns for around $3,500.
The board also ordered her to pay a $500 fine for utilizing campaign money to pay for a trip to attend a conference in Florida where she was also paid an honorarium to give a speech.
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