Democrat Mouthpiece Maxine Waters Hit with FEC Complaint Over Campaign Mailers
Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters, one of the most outspoken members of the anti-Trump ‘resistance’ in Congress, is facing fresh questions about a longstanding controversy regarding how her campaign raises money and how those funds have flowed to her daughter.
The California congresswoman has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars each election cycle from some of her state’s biggest politicians paying to be listed on her slate mailers—sample ballots traditionally mailed out to about 200,000 voters in Los Angeles highlighting whom she supports.
Since 2004, the campaign in turn reportedly has paid $750,000 to the congresswoman’s daughter, Karen Waters, or her public relations firm Progressive Connections for help producing them.
A government watchdog in July filed the first of two complaints with the Federal Election Commission asking for a full audit of the Citizens for Waters campaign.
The first complaint alleges Waters broke federal campaign finance law, and also names the California Democratic State Central Committee and Sen. Kamala Harris, a likely 2020 Democratic presidential contender.
The conservative National Legal and Policy Center is still drafting a second broader complaint focusing on the sources of money going to the Waters campaign and flowing to her daughter—and the accuracy of campaign finance reports, said Tom Anderson, director of the group’s government integrity project.
The National Legal and Policy Center posted a report on their complaints against Maxine Waters.
Today, NLPC filed a Complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging that Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) violated federal election law in a transaction related to her so-called slate mailer during her last re-election campaign.
The transaction was a payment to Waters’ campaign fund from the Democratic State Central Committee of California (DSCCC) in the amount of $35,000 for the inclusion of then-Senate candidate, and now Senator Kamala Harris, on Waters’ slate mailer. Whereas candidates like Harris may legally pay Waters’ campaign for the proportional costs of their inclusion on her slate mailer, it is not legal for such payment to be made by a third party like the DSCCC.
Waters’ slate mailers have been a matter of controversy for years. They resemble a sample ballot distributed by political parties before and during elections, but contain Waters’ personal endorsements. She pioneered a new way to use slate mailers by seeking an Advisory Opinion from the Federal Election Commission in 2004 that allows her to use her federal campaign to also function as a State of California slate mailer committee while still maintaining eligibility as a principal federal campaign committee.
The main beneficiary of the slate mailers appears to be companies controlled by Waters’ daughter Karen Waters, which have received hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce the mailers. Critics have charged that Waters’ slate mailers are a way to evade contribution limits.