- When an American politician runs for office, he or she establishes a campaign staff and funding process to collect campaign funds to be spent trying to get that politician elected to office.
- Once the election is over, the campaign has to pay off any remaining debts incurred by the campaign using that donated money.
- But what often happens that even after the debts are paid off, there is still campaign cash leftover.
- Now in an honest and ethical political process, the politician should either have to give back, say on a prorated basis, any leftover donated funds that were no longer needed, or possibly donate those leftover funds to a worthy and recognized charity.
- But we do not have either an honest and ethical political process or honest and ethical politicians since it appears they have written the game rules that allows them to keep using unused campaign money for their own good long after they are no longer in office, or in some case, after they have died.
- That is the bottom line finding of the Tampa Bay Times report that was replete with many examples of this greed.
- Although former Florida Congressman Mark Foley was drummed out of Congress over ten years ago for sending explicit sex text messages to teenage boys, in 2017 he used money from his old Congressional campaign fund to fund four dinners for himself in Palm Beach including a luncheon that cost his campaign fund $450.
- Former Senator Jim Bunning paid his daughter $94,800 from his campaign fund in the fours years after he left office, stopping only when there were no longer any funds left to give to her.
- Over the past year and a half, political consultant Dylan Beesley paid his consulting firm $100,000 from the campaign fund of Hawaiian Congressman Mark Takai for “consulting services” even though Congressman Takai has been dead for those past months.
- Former Ohio Congressman Steve LaTourette has been out of Congress for over three years but he still treated himself to $4,555 worth of Ohio State football tickets using his leftover campaign funds.
- In the six years since former Texas Congressman Jim Turner left office, he has paid his wife over $30,000 to handle his paperwork in addition to paying his father’s hardware company $9,600 to rent office space from his father with leftover campaign money.
- Former South Carolina Congressman Robin Tallon left Congress in 1993, took his leftover $400,000 campaign slush fund and invested it so well that he grew it to $1 million; he then paid himself more than $31,000, paid his son $20,000 who was listed as his campaign manager even though Tallon was not running for office, he bought a $4,000 computer in 2007 (14 years after leaving Congress, a $2,300 computer in 2014, and a $900 iPad in 2017, all with money from that initial leftover $400,000 campaign fund.
- But Tallon’s shenanigans get better since between 2007 and 2011 he paid $8,200 to an organization identified as only CCSC, which coincidentally looks very familiar to the housing development where he owns a 4,400 square foot home, Country Club of South Carolina, or CCSC.
- According to the report, almost 40 former Congress people kept aides or campaign staff on payroll long after the person left office with a dozen of those 40 paying a politician's family members to stay on staff.
- In fact, Bunning paid his daughter over $2,100 a month until the slush fund ran dry.
- The former treasurer of New York Congressman Thomas Manton was still being paid two years after Manton died, not just two years after he left office.
- Former Georgia Congressman Saxby Chambliss left office in January, 2015 but used leftover campaign funds to treat himself to five nights at the five star Williamsburg Inn six months later at a cost of $1,979.
- The article reports, using actual FEC data, that about 100 former members of Congress have allowed their former campaign treasure chest to spend over $20 million after they left office over the past 23 years or so.
- Other dubious expenses uncovered by the research included money spent on airline tickets, club memberships, cell phones, computers and other expenses.
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