By the time Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D – MN) finally got around to kicking her husband Tim Mynett’s consulting firm, the E Street Group, off of the gravy train, they had managed to flush more than three million dollars of her campaign contributions into her husband’s coffers. When we learned that news, I remarked that there were probably 537 other people on Capitol Hill who were smacking themselves in the forehead and wondering how they didn’t think of a scheme like that. But as it turns out, there was already someone else in Congress who had been engaging in a similar game of nepotism and she’d been doing it since well before Omar was first sworn into office. California Congresswoman Maxine Waters has been shoveling campaign cash to her daughter for eighteen years. As the Free Beacon reported this week, Karen Waters has now managed to rack up well over a million dollars in fees for her “consulting services” provided to her mom, and the rate of flow for all that cash has recently ramped up considerably.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Calif.) has now dished out more than $1 million in campaign payments to her daughter following the 2020 elections.
Karen Waters has pocketed $1.13 million for providing an array of services for her mother’s campaign since 2003. The majority of the cash is for her role in running a controversial slate-mailer operation, in which California politicians gave money to Waters’s campaign in exchange for mailers bearing her endorsement.
The mailers have become increasingly lucrative for the younger Waters over the years. During the 2020 cycle, her payments hit a high of $240,000. That’s significantly more than the $90,000 her firm, Progressive Connections, took in during the 2006 election cycle.
The slate mailers have been hugely successful in raising cash from other Democratic officials and candidates. For those not familiar, those are postcards that get mailed out with the names of multiple candidates who are on the ballot, all from the same party. Maxine Waters is one of the most senior Democrats in California so having her name appear alongside yours, seen as providing a tacit endorsement of your candidacy, is a valued commodity.
Much like Omar, Waters finds ways to both raise and spend vast amounts of campaign funds for her races in a completely uncompetitive district where she has never gotten less than 70% of the vote. For the 2020 cycle, her daughter’s firm scooped up almost a quarter of a million dollars. Perhaps Waters has been watching how well Omar was doing and realized she’d been too modest in her familial “redistribution” efforts?
The amazing part of all this is that it’s completely legal under FEC regulations. As long as the consultant firm performs any sort of “work” for the campaign that they can point to, they can be compensated. And unlike the limits place on the amount of money that donors can contribute, there are no limits on how much these consultants can charge. It’s pure genius.
The situation with Waters is at least a bit less incestuous looking than the arrangement Omar and her husband enjoyed. The majority of married couples pool their finances, so all of Mynett’s earnings from his firm very likely mixed with the congresswoman’s assets eventually. The same isn’t true for parents and their children in most cases. While it hasn’t been suggested that anything similar was happening, there would have to be some sort of paper trail if Waters’ daughter were transferring large sums of money to her mother, even if it was described as a gift. If that did turn out to be the case, some red flags would likely be raised at the FEC, the IRS, or both.
We really do have to wonder if this isn’t going to become a growing trend. When more members of the House and Senate see how easily such a process can be set up and how impervious the beneficiary is to legal repercussions, I wouldn’t be shocked if more of them decide to hoist their family members onto the gravy train.