The political achilles heel of lawyer-lobbyist and expected U.S. Senate candidate Scott McInnis got tweaked this morning when Rep. Mark Udall (D-Eldorado Springs) announced his support for the Candidate Anti-Corruption Act, a bi-partisan bill that would prohibit the use of campaign funds for the payment of a salary to a candidate running for federal office or to pay the salary to the candidate’s immediate family.
Former 3rd District Congressman McInnis was criticized in a 2004 Washington Post story for paying his wife tens of thousands of dollars in salary and benefits to serve as his campaign manager even after he announced that he would not seek re-election. According to the Post:
Lori McInnis has been a paid employee of her husband’s reelection campaign since 2001, spending reports show. She was paid about 50 percent more for the 2004 election cycle, with no candidate, than she was paid in the 2002 campaign, when she had an active candidate to manage.
The author of the bill, Rep. Phil English (R-PA) said, “It defies common sense that our campaign finance system allows federal candidates to channel special interest campaign donations directly to family members.”
In his press release announcing his co-sponsorship of the bill, Udall stated:
In effect, the 2002 FEC ruling allowing candidates to use campaign funds to pay salaries to themselves or their family members enables them to evade the federal law that prohibits candidates from using campaign funds for personal expenses. This is a loophole big enough to drive a truckload of money through. Campaign accounts should be used for legitimate campaign expenses, not as a slush fund that candidates or their family members could use to pay for their personal expenses. Coloradans expect their elected officials to act ethically and appropriately and I’m pleased that Rep. English has sponsored this important piece of legislation. I’ll work with him to get it passed in the House,” said Udall.