Washington watchdogs call out leadership PACs for campaign finance abuse

Political action committees are going far beyond political activities, subsidizing “lavish lifestyles” of federal officeholders, according to a new report by a pair of Washington D.C. watchdog groups.

The “All Expenses Still Paid” report details how members of Congress routinely use leadership PACs to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on private jets, golf, expensive meals, and luxury hotel accommodations instead of their intended use, supporting political allies. The report was co-authored by nonpartisan political reform groups Issue One and the Campaign Legal Center (CLC).

“Leadership PACs are a decades-long ethics scandal in Congress that should outrage every American,” Issue One Executive Director Meredith McGehee said in a news release. “Members of Congress should embrace bipartisan legislation to curb the abuses of leadership PACs.”

The report identified leadership PACs that spent, in just the final three months of 2018: $113,236 at a five-star resort in Georgia, $82,408 for private jets, and $10,750 at a Mardi Gras celebration; all while donations to other candidates appeared to take a back seat.

Other spending identified in the report included:

— The leadership PAC for Rep. Richard Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat, spending $23,130 for tickets to the South

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