According to Federal Election Commission (FEC) records examined by The Daily Caller, U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) has given his wife and son almost $56,000 from his main campaign committee since 2019.
Rush, a former Black Panther leader who was elected to Congress 15 times, will leave office in January.
Between June 2021 and March 2022, Rush paid his third wife, Paulette Holloway Rush, almost $11,000, according to documents. Paulette, a church minister, received a $3,600 payment from the veteran congressman on June 17, 2021.
The documents said that Rush has also paid his son Jeffrey around $45,000 since 2019, largely for “field services” and “field operations services,” which often involve tasks like door-to-door canvassing, phone banking, and event work.
In the majority of campaigns, volunteers performed these tasks.
Rush’s son Jeffrey received a six-month prison term in 2008 for having sex with female prisoners while serving as the facility’s head of security in Illinois. In a report by Herald & Review, Jeffrey was detained in 2011 after being found guilty of violating the terms of his probation for a past sexual offense.
The Daily Caller reported that the donations were made by the Citizens for Rush committee, which has a mailing address in Chicago and has raised over $220,000 during the most recent election season.
Although giving campaign donations to family members is allowed as long as they receive fair market value compensation, ethical authorities “frown upon” the practice. Fair market value is “really difficult to determine,” Kendra Arnold said an executive director of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, who was speaking to the Daily Caller.
Arnold, whose nonprofit aims to promote accountability and transparency in the government said that “When a candidate contracts with an independent person they’re not related to, obviously they’re going to negotiate for the best price and the fair market price,”
“But when they negotiate with a family member, it’s a lot harder to determine whether or not they did that.”
Members of Congress may only spend campaign cash to pay relatives “if the family member is providing a bona fide service to the campaign and the payments represent the fair market value of those services,” an FEC spokesperson told the Daily Caller.
However, the representative clarified that “fair market value” had no definition.
This is not the first time Bobby Rush has enriched his family with campaign donations. The Washington Free Beacon revealed that Rush gave four family members over $100,000 during the 2016 election cycle. These payments were made to his then-wife Carolyn, who passed away in 2016, as well as to his son Jeffrey, brother Marlon, mother Cora, and sister-in-law Cora.
Bobby Rush has sent his ex-wife hundreds of thousands of dollars since 2002. While his son Flynn was paid for a petition and election drive work, Carolyn Rush got money for “consulting services.” Judy, his sister, was also paid for managing the business and working as a receptionist, the Washington Free Beacon added.
A number of Democrats are vying to replace Rush in a reliably blue district this cycle.
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