A law firm run by the sister of Democratic representative William Lacy Clay Jr. (Mo.) has now banked more than $1 million from the congressman’s campaign since 2002, filings show.
The payments to the firm are often the largest expenditures from the committee. The campaign cash was disbursed to an address in Maryland and in part has gone toward community organizing services despite Clay’s district being located more than 800 miles away and the longtime representative having not faced any serious challenges to his seat since entering Congress.
Payments from campaigns to family members have gotten other politicians in hot water. Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Calif.), for example, was hit with an FEC complaint over hundreds of thousands of dollars that her campaign paid to her daughter for running a mailer operation. More than a dozen politicians from both political parties have raised concerns of nepotism by placing family members on campaign payrolls in recent years, which is permitted but carries stipulations such as providing a “bona fide service” and paying fair market value.
Clay, who was elected in 2001 to a seat previously held for more than 30 years by his father, Bill Clay, began pushing money to family members shortly after taking office. Clay Sr. established the William L. Clay Scholarship and Research Fund in the 1980s to address concerns of rising tuition costs. The fund is one entity that has received cash from the campaign. Between 2002 and 2016, more than $30,000 in donations were made to the congressman’s father’s fund. read more