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Feb 29 2012

AD-38: Congressional Candidate Catherine Wright Blasts Patricia McKeon for Receiving Campaign Funds from Husband Rep Buck McKeon

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Speaker Boehner, Patricia McKeon and Rep. Buck McKeon

This California Assembly race is starting to heat up. Catherin Wright, daughter of former Simi Valley Mayor and California Assemblywoman/State Senator Cathy Wright has criticized Assembly candidate Patricia McKeon for receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years from her husband’s (Rep. Buck McKeon) campaign fund.

Wright also has issues, she said, with McKeon’s wife, Patricia, being paid to work on her husband’s campaign.

“All the time my mom ran for office, I would help with the campaign. But my mom would never have paid me for it,” she said.

Patricia McKeon, a candidate in the California 38th Assembly District, is treasurer for her husband’s campaigns.

“(Buck McKeon) is paying his wife,” Wright said. “His wife wins by his winning.”

Here is the amount of campaign cash Patricia McKeon has received from Rep. Buck McKeon, at least through 2006.

Yes, the amount is: $263,168

Is this legal?

Yes, but ethical?

Seventy-two members of the House of Representatives spent $5.1 million in campaign funds to pay relatives or their relatives’ companies or employers during the past six years, a liberal watchdog group says in a report to be released Monday.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) found nearly $3.5 million in campaign payments to relatives during the past three election cycles, from 2001 to 2006. Campaigns paid about $1.6 million to firms owned by or employing the lawmakers or their relatives, the group found.

It is not illegal for federal candidates to pay family members for political work, as long as they are paid fair market value, the Federal Election Commission has ruled. Some would like to change the law because of recent investigations.

Under House rules, lawmakers cannot put relatives on their office payroll. Exemptions have been granted when staff members become relatives after they have already been employed by a House member.

Melanie Sloan, a former federal prosecutor who heads the watchdog group, says paying relatives with campaign money gives the impression that Congress members use their “position as a profit center for the family.”

“A member of Congress would not be allowed to put that family member on their office payroll,” Sloan says. “The logic should be the same. If they can’t put them on the official payroll, why should they put them on the campaign payroll?”

This issue of receiving money from her husband’s campaign account WILL be big in this campaign – just as Patricia McKeon receiving direct campaign contributions from defense contractor lobbyists who have legislation before the Congressman.

Stay tuned….

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