August 16, 2022

House Majority Whip James Clyburn busted handing out thousands of campaign dollars to family members

Politicians promise that money given to them will be put to better use by the government than by the people who earn it. However, one prominent Democrat proves why that’s false.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn’s campaign has doled out thousands of campaign dollars to his own family members, the Daily Caller reported. Since 2010, the South Carolina Democrat has paid family members a total of $260,000 from his Friends of Jim Clyburn committee.

Although it’s not unusual for politicians to employ family members, it’s dicey territory for those concerned about ethics. “There are two considerations. The first is legal,” campaign finance attorney Dan Backer told the Caller.

“At the end of the day, as long as the family member is providing bona fide services, and that is the fair market value of the services, then it is legal,” he said. “The other angle is optics and ethics. It looks really shady to do this.”

Shady indeed, considering Clyburn’s son-in-law Walter A.C. Reed has earned $58,500 campaign dollars since October 2021. Reed is married to Clyburn’s daughter Jennifer Clyburn Reed, and the pair has collected an additional $70,000 in rent paid to their LLC from Friends of Jim Clyburn since March 2020.

“It’s an obvious ethical problem,” Backer continued. “In many other industries, paying family members and relatives of decision-makers usually involves some sort of conflict-of-interest waiver. But it’s almost impossible to find that in a campaign context.”

Walter A.C. Reed also works as campaign manager for Clyburn, according to his Twitter bio. He’s advocated for radical policies such as court-packing and eliminating the filibuster following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, perhaps echoing the lawmaker’s radical bent.

Clyburn is touching the edges of corruption with these payouts even if there isn’t anything technically illegal about doing so. Paying off family members with campaign money is a solid indication that people like Clyburn have no business with other people’s money.

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