The consummate leader of the anti-Trump “resistance,” Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), could soon be facing questions about how her campaign raises money, and why her fundraising operation cuts so many checks to her daughter.
A “government watchdog” filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission in July, alleging that Waters and her campaign broke campaign finance laws when her campaign raised money through a “slate mailer,” and then paid Waters’ daughter’s consulting firm, Progressive Connections, $750,000 from the proceeds.
Fox News reports that the mailer, which looks like a sample ballot, is one of Waters’ most lucrative fundraising items, netting hundreds of thousands of dollars for her campaign arm, Citizens for Waters, each time the mailer goes out. Other Democrats who ally with Waters, like Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), the complaint says, pay to be listed on the sample ballot, so powerful is its pull with voters.
The complaint, however, alleges that the fundraising system is actually a breach of campaign finance laws.
The problem seems to be that Waters has found a loophole that allows her to get around FEC limits. “California’s top politicians as well as local office-seekers have given far in excess of legal contribution limits to her campaign to be on her slate of endorsed candidates,” Fox News reports. Waters then turns around and pays her daughter to produce the mailer — a system that the National Legal and Policy Center calls a “cottage industry.”
The FEC complaint contends that “a third party”—- in this case the California Democrats who paid to include Kamala Harris on Waters’ sample ballot — “is not legally allowed to pay for the mailer of a candidate without a reimbursement under the 2004 FEC advisory opinion.”
A second complaint, reportedly being drafted, will focus more intently “on the sources of money going to the Waters campaign and flowing to her daughter—and the accuracy of campaign finance reports.”
If the FEC accepts the complaint, they could bring a swift end to Waters’ financial haul, and possibly to her influence over Democratic party politics. But it’s an uphill climb; the National Legal and Policy center is only the latest in a long line of organizations which have risen to challenge Waters’ alleged moneymaking scheme — and she hasn’t been found guilty yet.