With all the attention being paid to razor-thin vote margins in various races, you’d think there wouldn’t be much of a call to examine the candidates who won by a landslide. But one of those races is in the news this week, not because of questions about vote totals, but about money spent by the campaign. We’re talking about Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California’s 43rd District. She ran up quite a few bills over the course of the campaign (as almost all elected officials do), but some scrutiny is being applied to the generous payday being collected by one of the people operating her mail distribution operations this year. That’s because the campaign worker in question is her daughter and she’s set to cash in for more money than her mother will make from her congressional salary. (Free Beacon)
The daughter of Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Calif.) will collect more than $200,000 from her mother’s campaign after its debts are paid off for leading a lucrative slate mailer operation, Federal Election Commission filings show.
Karen Waters has pulled in hefty payments from the campaign to run a slate mailer operation after the FEC issued an advisory opinion in October 2004 allowing Waters to run the operation from the Citizens for Waters, her mother’s campaign committee. Prior to 2006, Karen ran the arrangement through LA Vote, a state committee in California…
As of the end of the 2016 election cycle, Karen and her firm Progressive Connections had been paid more than $600,000 in campaign funds from the committee for the running the slate mailers since 2006, the Washington Free Beacon previously reported.
A $200K salary is pretty impressive when you consider the “work” that goes into it. Karen Waters and her group were put in charge of slate mailers for the Congresswoman’s campaign. These are a little different than the normal mailers each campaign sends out for themselves. For those not familiar, a well funded, high profile candidate like Waters has the option to send out mailers not only promoting their own candidacy but those of other candidates up and down the ticket. And those other campaigns can be charged a healthy sum of money for that opportunity. (Gavin Newsom and Dianne Feinstein both paid $27K each to have their names on Waters mailers this year.)
Just for the record, precisely how much campaigning did Maxine Waters think she needed to do this year? The woman literally won her race with more than 75% of the vote.
So is this legal? For the most part, yes. Being the child of a candidate obviously doesn’t preclude you from taking a job with the campaign and being paid. If the elected official is hiring their children for government jobs, more scrutiny might be applied, but campaign staff positions are not paid for with taxpayer dollars. There are bigger questions raised by Waters’ practice of using slate mailers and selling space on them to other candidates, but the FEC previously reviewed the issue and gave them a limited thumbs up.
Still, the practice has resulted in complaints being filed against the Waters campaign. That’s a lot of money changing hands between various Democratic campaigns and a surprising amount of it appears to go into the purse of the Congresswoman’s daughter. But hey… it’s all in the family, right? Blood is thicker than water(s) and all that.