Direct payments to family members for work performed on the Hill and during the course of campaigns was not the only way that CREW found lawmakers lining their own pockets. Though Congressional candidates routinely loan their campaign accounts money during election season, the report identified several who have received hefty interest payments.
Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.), for example, received more than $94,000 in interest during the 2008 and 2010 election cycles from a $150,000 loan she made to her campaign account in 1998. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii) collected more than $31,000 in interest on a $125,000 loan during the same period. Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) has collected about $29,000 in interest on a $309,000 loan he made to his campaign account after telling the Federal Election Commission he wouldn’t charge any interest, the report found.
Other details in the report included three lawmakers — Reps. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Tim Walz (D-Minn.) — who reimbursed themselves and their wives for baby-sitting costs and two who received a salary from their campaign while running for office, Reps. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.).
The results of CREW’s research have been compiled in a searchable database that will be maintained by the website Legistorm.
A Kinzinger representative said the payments had been mischaracterized and were in fact reimbursements for supplies and other expenses.
“All of the items on the report were reimbursements and did not go toward a salary for Congressman Kinzinger,” a spokeswoman said.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.