DCCC Chair Spent Big on Travel as He Urged Constituents to ‘Stay Home' and ‘Stop Spreading the Virus'
Added 05-03-21 06:20:03am EST - “As Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney suspended in-person campaign efforts and told constituents to stay home to fight coronavirus, the New York Democrat disclosed spending tens of thousands of dollars to travel the state, prompting ethics…” - Freebeacon.com
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As Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney suspended in-person campaign efforts and told constituents to stay home to fight coronavirus, the New York Democrat disclosed spending tens of thousands of dollars to travel the state, prompting ethics concerns.
Maloney—who leads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee—halted his campaign's in-person signature-collecting push in March 2020. Days later, he urged constituents to "stay home" and "stop spreading this virus." Over the next nine months, however, he spent nearly $29,000 on "ground transportation" and "automobile expenses," financial disclosures show. The disbursements included nearly $20,000 in lease and insurance payments, more than $3,600 in collision repairs, nearly $2,200 in gas, more than $2,100 in rental car fees, and nearly $500 for a satellite radio subscription.
Maloney's expenses were unusual in his region. Rep. Antonio Delgado (D., N.Y.), for example, did not disclose any car-related expenses in 2020. Delgado's 19th Congressional District is nearly six times the size of Maloney's neighboring 18th district. Like Maloney, Delgado pivoted to virtual events during the pandemic. Under U.S. campaign finance law, candidates cannot use donor funds to pay for personal travel.
Ethics experts called the expenditures suspect. Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust executive director Kendra Arnold told the Washington Free Beacon that Maloney "has a duty to explain" the payments, which she said raised "red flags."
"Without having any in-person campaigning, you wouldn't expect there to be a lot of expenses," Arnold said. "Candidates don't have to link [disbursements] to a specific corresponding event, so of course anything could be made up. We generally look for spending that isn't in the realm of a candidate in the same state or in a similar-sized district."
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