Maxine Waters, the Democrat from California who claimed to have been sent by God to stop Donald Trump and who called for the harassment of Trump staff and supporters, has again raised eyebrows – this time for how many campaign dollars she has given to family members. According to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC), Waters has given her daughter, Karen Waters, more than $1 million from campaign funds for duties performed since 2003. In fact, Waters distributed to her daughter more than $240,000 during the most recent re-election cycle.
The junior Waters received most of her pay for slate-mailing, a technique that isn’t used in campaign methods much anymore. A slate mailer is much like a pamphlet that lists a range of proposed laws or candidates, with information opposing or endorsing them. Karen Waters was involved in sending out publications “in which other candidates in Southern California paid Maxine Waters’ campaign for endorsement quotes that appeared on mailings sent out to voters on behalf of those other candidates,” Fox News explained.
‘We are Not Bad People’
Between March 2019 and September 2020, Rep. Waters’ daughter earned $212,654.73, most of which came from “Slate Mailer Management” fees, but the FEC record shows 26 separate entries which also included “canvassing” and “office expenses.” The 82-year-old representative’s recent re-election campaign efforts showed five new entries for Karen which totaled $28,150. Of the ten recipients, Karen was the highest-paid from her mother’s campaign funds.
Karen, however, isn’t the only family member to get paid through Waters’ campaign. The Los Angeles Times reported in 2004 that more than $1 million had been paid out to relatives during the previous eight years. Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington at the time said Waters’ practice was unethical:
“It looks like congresswoman Waters is using her position to financially benefit her family members, and that is at the very least unethical. You shouldn’t be making money off your mother’s endorsements.”
Waters and her relatives claim they keep their businesses separate. “They do their business and I do mine,” the representative said. “We are not bad people.” Waters is the head of the House Financial Services Committee, and so these dealings have attracted a lot of scrutiny into her campaign finances, especially because of the numbers involved with her daughter’s earnings.
Nepotism in the Political Class
Unsurprisingly, the mainstream media are not covering this story. A Google search only produced articles from Fox News, yet people have been raising red flags about the congresswoman’s campaign fund practices for well over a decade.
Political nepotism may just be why so many Americans feel politicians are in it for themselves instead of the good of their constituents. Waters has been in Congress since 1991 and FEC records appear to show she has spent many years employing and paying various relatives large sums of money. Of course, she is not the only policymaker to take advantage of the system, and many question how lawmakers can enter the field with average wealth and become rich while serving the people.
Although some suggest a full audit of Waters’ campaign finances, no action has been taken. It does seem like a lot of money to shell out to Karen’s public relations firm, Progressive Connections, to create, print, and mail sample ballots.
Read more from Kelli Ballard.