House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) has paid daughter Karen Waters $1.2 million in campaign cash for obscure services, according to data obtained by Fox News.
Federal Elections Commission (FEC) data shows the payments to Karen Waters and her company, Progressive Connections, have been made since 2003. The payments varied each year but are the equivalent of nearly $67,000 each year since then, which is above the average salary for an American worker.
The payments were said to be for “slate mailer management” fees, “campaign managing services,” and paying for a “band for [a] holiday event.”
According to Fox News, 83-year-old Waters was the only federal politician to do “slate mailers” for the 2020 general election, which describe the candidate’s stand on a variety of issues and suggest which lawmakers to vote for.
Long term habit
She was reportedly paid $187,000 for the mailers, which includes staff, the cost of the mailers themselves, and postage but seems like an exorbitant amount. How many congressional campaign staffers get paid even half of that amount?
Paying family members for campaign activities is apparently nothing new for Waters. In 2004, she was found to have paid other family members a combined $1 million over the previous eight years.
The payments don’t necessarily mean she did anything wrong if all of them were for legitimate campaign-related services rendered, but it is a very large amount of money to have paid to relatives.
To be clear, Waters is not now and has never been in trouble with the FEC over any payments to her daughter or other relatives.
Not the only one
She’s not the only one paying family members, but she might be paying the largest amount of any other lawmaker.
In 2020, her payments to her daughter were more than three times the next largest amount.
While the data about these payments are readily available to the public, the FEC and other regulatory agencies don’t seem to care about Waters’ payments. Shouldn’t they at least investigate and make sure this huge amount of money was spent legitimately?
It may not matter much longer, as Waters is likely to retire in the next term or two. But if she is enriching her daughter and others, she should face some consequences for that.