According to The Washington Free Beacon, Hillary Clinton sent more than $150,000 in leftover campaign cash to an LLC designed to handle her income from books and speaking engagements, potentially in violation of the FEC rules on how to disburse leftover funds.
The Free Beacon reports that Clinton paid the $150,000, in several installments marked “rent,” to ZFS Holdings LLC, a Delaware-based company she established just days after leaving the State Department. From around 2014 to the present, the company, which does not appear to have much more than a general corporate presence, managed Clinton’s income from her various extracurricular activities.
But Clinton didn’t pay ZFS for “rent” or for anything else while she was actively campaigning for president. When her campaign wrapped up, however, it began sending checks to ZFS marked “rent,” though it’s not clear what the former Clinton campaign was actually renting.
The first transaction from the committee to ZFS was made on May 4, 2017 in the amount of $32,929.28, nearly six months after Trump had defeated Clinton. Each payment from the committee to ZFS was marked as “rent.”
Seven additional payments were made ranging from $9,617.87 to $36,369.39. The most recent payment to ZFS, for $20,822.92, was made on March 15, filings show.
The campaign has pushed $149,456.78 to ZFS Holdings since early May of last year.
Clinton, the Free Beacon says, was not required to shut down her Hillary for America committee after her attempt to take the Oval Office concluded in embarrassing defeat. But campaigns are restricted in how they spend any leftover money. They can pay down campaign debts, use it to get out of office leases, or pay off any remaining campaign expenses. They can even, potentially, transfer some of the money to other entities pursuing their campaign objectives (like Clinton’s PAC, Onward Together), if those entities might one day be reabsorbed into another campaign committee.
But former candidates can’t use the remaining campaign cash for personal income, and it’s possible that that’s exactly what Clinton is doing, albeit in a way that skirts the watchful eye of the FEC.
“Personal use is illegal under federal campaign finance law,” campaign finance lawyer Cleta Mitchell told the Free Beacon. “There are a number of questions that need to be answered to ensure that the campaign is using leftover campaign funds for a legally, permissible purpose.”
Clinton’s campaign has not yet commented on the story.