Tuesday, February 7, 2012

How to Divert Campaign Funds to Your Family – Pay Your Daughter to Sing at Your Rallies

If You Had $10 Million in Campaign Cash You’d Want to Divert Some Of It to the Family Too

Like all politicians, Massachusetts Republican Senator Scott Brown would really, really like to benefit from all that money given to his campaign by the rich donors that are now flooding American politics.  But alas, campaign finance law say you really cannot do that.  So being a clever person, at least where diverting campaign funds are concerned, Mr. Brown has thought up a perfectly legal way to pay his daughter.

Ayla Brown performed at Senator Scott Brown’s
2010 victory party.

Senator Scott Brown’s campaign has spent $9,500 since December 2010 to pay his daughter to sing at three campaign events, including a pair of Christmas parties.

Ayla Brown, a performer and a onetime “American Idol’’ contestant, has been part of Brown’s appeal since he won a special election in 2010.

Brown, a Republican, is now locked in a tight race against Elizabeth Warren, the likely Democratic nominee. His payments to his daughter appear in his campaign finance reports as disbursements to Ambient Entertainment LLC, Ayla Brown’s representative.

Now there is nothing illegal here, and in fact the reason that we all know about this is that the campaign has disclosed the payments in the finance filings.

Federal election law allows the campaign to compensate Ayla Brown at fair market value, but she can also choose to volunteer her services, according to two campaign finance attorneys and a 1980 Federal Election Commission opinion.

The Brown campaign could not say what portion of the performance fees went to Ayla Brown and how much went to those they described as her bandmates. Nor could it say how many people played in her backup band.

  And everyone should be sure of the fact that this practice spreads across all parties and all political philosophies.  The purpose of presenting it here is just to provide a little more evidence of just how sleazy American politics has become.  

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