Study: Lawmakers use political funds for resorts, sporting events, fine dining

Politics
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A new study says lawmakers from both parties are using political funds for luxury resorts, golf memberships, fine dining and sporting events.

Leadership political action committees were conceived in the 1970s as a way for politicians to raise money that they could dole out to other politicians. This would ostensibly win them favor and increase their ability to rise to leadership positions.

But the study from campaign finance reform advocates Issue One and the Campaign Legal Center says most of the money is being used for lavish personal spending.

“Lawmakers are public servants,” said Michael Beckel, research manager at Issue One. “They’re not supposed to be raising money to pay for their own lavish lifestyle.”

Federal law prohibits politicians from using political funds for personal expenses, but the study’s authors say the FEC has declined to apply the standard to Leadership PACs.

“In recent years only 45 percent of the money that leadership PACs have spent has gone to other candidates or other political groups,” Beckel said.

Issue One and the Campaign Legal Center are calling on Congress to pass legislation banning the use of Leadership PACs for personal expenses. They also urge the FEC to take administrative action to apply personal expenditure rules to Leadership PACs.

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