Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid wants the Federal Election Commission to create an exemption that would allow him to spend $600,000 in unspent campaign and PAC funds on personal matters as he retires from office, the Washington Examiner reports.
FEC Commissioner Lee E. Goodman labeled the funds an "administrative slush fund" as the extraordinary request was made, the Examiner reports.
The Nevada Democrat wants to use the funds "to close out his offices and aid his shift to becoming a former public official still intent on influencing the nation's agenda," the Examiner's Paul Bedard reports.
Reid wants to hire a full-time assistant to help in this effort. Part of the assistant's duties would be to "schedule and organize appearances in which Senator Reid will discuss his tenure in office," a draft of an advisory opinion submitted to the FEC
by the commission's general counsel on Dec. 15 states.
"This issue of personal use vexes us," FEC commissioner Goodman said at an open meeting
on Dec. 17, the Examiner reports.
Democrat commissioner Ann Ravel defended the request during the open meeting, the Examiner reports, stating the use of the funds in such a way would be the "appropriate mechanism for a person who will continue to be doing a public service as a historic figure in our country, to achieve purposes that are important to the American public."
"This is applicable to a person who has been the majority leader for many years, who has performed an important function in our government for many years, who probably during that time had so much to do that he was unable to do some of the things that's necessary, not only for the winding down of the office but also to be able to communicate to the American public as an important figure and public official, not necessarily as just a person who's been there a couple of years and is trying to make personal use of their campaign funds," Ravel further asserted.
The FEC deferred action on the request.
Reid has been in trouble with the commission over the personal use of campaign funds in the past.
In March 2014 he agreed to reimburse $16,787 his campaign
gave to his granddaughter Ryan Elisabeth Reid in 2013 for what was described as payments for "holiday gifts."
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported at the time that federal disclosures showed the campaign paid another $14,481 to Reid's granddaughter in 2012, bringing to $31,268 the total paid to her in 2012 and 2013 to purchase gifts for Reid's support staff.
In 2006, Reid used campaign funds to pay $3,300 in bonuses to the doorman and other support workers at his residence at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C., the Washington Free Beacon reports.
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