Republican introduces bill to prevent candidates from paying family members

Democratic lawmakers seem to be big fans of placing their loved ones on the official payroll during campaigns — a practice that has drawn intense scrutiny by the right and now, someone wants to do something about it.

According to the New York Post, Rep. Pat Fallon (R-TX) recently introduced the Family Integrity to Reform Elections (FIRE) Act, which aims to prevent candidates running for federal office from paying family members for campaign services.

Rep. Fallon explained to the Post why the bill is critically important, especially after a number of high-profile Democrats, such as Rep. Maxine Waters and others have paid out millions in campaign cash to close family members, sometimes for obscure “services,” which some claim is nothing more than an easy way to keep millions of donations in the family.

“Ilhan Omar, $2.9 million to her husband from campaign funds. James Clyburn, over $200,000 to multiple family members from his campaign,” Rep. Fallon told the Post. He noted that Waters had made similarly large payouts to close family.

“The numbers speak for themselves,” Fallon said. “Americans are sick of politicians abusing their voters’ hard-earned money. This modern-day spoils system must end. My bill shines light on shady campaign finance practices while punishing those who take advantage of these funds to enrich their families.”

It’s not illegal to hire family members to work on a campaign, but the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) states that salaries cannot be paid to family members of candidates with the exception that the family member is performing a “bona fide service” to the campaign, which is rarely the case, especially for Democrats.

Additionally, the bill would establish reporting requirements for candidates if they do employ family members for any services.

The Post added: “If the bill becomes law, any candidate who violates the ban would face a fine of either $100,000 for each violation or twice the amount paid to the family members — whichever is greater — and/or imprisonment for up to two years.”