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L.A. Members of Congress Paid Hundreds of Thousands in Campaign Cash to Themselves, Relatives

L.A. Members of Congress Paid Hundreds of Thousands in Campaign Cash to Themselves, Relatives
Andy

You contributed cash to your favorite U.S. representative's campaign, hoping he'd use the money to fight the good fight and knockout his foe.

But in many cases a lot of that money is going to "babysitters, five-star hotels in Athens, six-figure salaries for candidates' family members and thousands of dollars in interest payments to the candidates themselves."

Yep. And L.A. is not immune:

A new report by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington says that in the 2008 and 2010 election cycles your friendly, neighborhood U.S. reps across the land paid themselves and family members, at least indirectly, a total of $5.6 million of your campaign contributions.

It's sketchy but within the law, apparently.

L.A. area representatives named in the report include:

-Henry Waxman, the Westside Democrat, who took more than $10,000 from his campaign war chests for travel, meals and even gifts, according to the report.

-Maxine Waters, the South L.A. Democrat, whose campaign paid her husband more than $10,000 for hotel and travel expenses.

But that ain't nothing. Her daughter's P.R. firm got nearly $250,000 "for mailings and fundraising" for her mom's campaign.

-The campaign of Linda Sanchez, a Democrat who rep'd some of southeast L.A. county, paid her sister, Orange County U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez, $1,000 for "rent." Really. Linda's "PAC" also contributed $2,000 to ... Loretta's campaign.

-Laura Richardson, Democrat repping parts of the South Bay, paid herself $9,542 in interest for loans she made to her own campaign. Yeah.

-Valley Democrat Howard Berman (who's fighting for a redesdricted version of his old gig) paid $170,000 to his brother's political consulting firm for ... advice ... and stuff.

So when you're wondering why the politicians you send to Washington seem to represent themselves and their own coddled interests rather than those of the people, now you know why.

It's all about the cash.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]