“Scores of lawmakers’ leadership PACs spent vast sums on luxurious dining, lodging, and travel, new Issue One and Campaign Legal Center report shows”

From the report:

New research from Issue One and Campaign Legal Center shows that scores of lawmakers are not using the bulk of the money they raise in their leadership PACs to assist other candidates, political groups, or their parties — the intended purpose of leadership PACs when they were approved by the Federal Election Commission more than 40 years ago.

While most members of Congress primarily use their leadership PACs to make political contributions, Issue One and Campaign Legal Center found that the leadership PACs of 120 members of Congress spent less than 50% on politics between January 2019 and December 2020 — roughly one of every five members of Congress….

“Leadership PACs represent the worst of pay-to-play political giving,” said Issue One Founder and CEO Nick Penniman. “People of conscience in Congress and at the Federal Election Commission must rein in the abuse of leadership PACs and prohibit leadership PACs from being slush funds for politicians to pursue lavish lifestyles.”

Adav Noti, senior director for trial litigation and chief of staff at Campaign Legal Center, added: “Too many members of Congress are using leadership PACs to enrich themselves. When candidates use funds given by donors for personal expenses, the risk for corruption is heightened — it raises concerns that wealthy special interests, expecting favors in return, are aiding what is essentially a slush fund that allows an elected official to live a lavish lifestyle.”

Issue One and Campaign Legal Center have urged both Congress and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to address the abuse of leadership PACs.

In 2018, Issue One and Campaign Legal Center submitted a rulemaking petition to the FEC, asking the Commission to clarify the regulations of the personal use of leadership PAC funds, but, to date, that petition remains pending.

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