- The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said in a complaint Friday that White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows allegedly misused campaign funds by spending them on personal expenditures.
- The watchdog group is urging the Federal Election Commission to investigate Meadows.
- The FEC prohibits candidates from using campaign funds for personal use.
- CREW found that Meadows’ campaign dropped thousands of dollars on cupcakes, restaurants, jewellery, and business at Trump-owned establishments.
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A government watchdog is calling for an investigation into White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows after accusing him of misusing thousands of dollars in campaign funds.
Nonprofit organisation Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint Friday that alleges Meadows spent campaign funds on personal expenses. Salon first reported the news.
The complaint asks the Federal Election Commission to “impose sanctions appropriate to these violations and take such further action as may be appropriate, including, but not limited to, referring this case to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution.”
CREW identified personal expenditures made by Meadows’ campaign after the White House staffer formally resigned from Congress. Meadows joined the White House in March.
On the same day as Meadows’ official resignation from Congress, his campaign spent $US2,650 on jewellery in Washington, the complaint says. The campaign continued to use its funds after the former representative announced his retirement from Congress, spending over $US6,500 at various restaurants and establishments â€” including at the Trump International Hotel.
The campaign also racked up charges in groceries and “a cupcakery,” according to the complaint, and paid a field representative at least $US5,800 despite an announcement from Meadows that he would no longer run for re-election.
“One of the clearest rules in campaign finance is you can’t spend your campaign’s finances on yourself,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement. “That is what it looks like happened here, and it must be thoroughly investigated.”
Rules from the Federal Election Commission, the regulatory agency that oversees campaign finance law in the United States, specify that candidates are prohibited from using campaign funds for personal use. The FEC defines any personal expenditure as one “used to fulfil any commitment, obligation, or expense of a person that would exist irrespective of the candidate’s election campaign or individual’s duties as a holder of Federal office.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.
The “timing and circumstances surrounding the expenditures make them unlikely to be legitimate campaign expenses, raising serious questions about whether Meadows and Meadows for Congress violated legal prohibitions against converting campaign funds for personal use,” the CREW complaint says.
The allegations come months after Meadows’ former colleague, California Rep. Duncan Hunter, said he would plead guilty to charges of misusing campaign funds. Hunter and his wife were charged with more than 60 criminal counts of campaign finance violations. He is now serving a prison sentence.