Congressional Candidate Ripped Off Donors, Paid Herself $60,000 Annual Salary
A candidate for U.S. Congress from Florida was recently caught red-handed paying herself a hefty salary out of her own campaign donations.
“Carla Spalding, a Republican seeking her party’s nomination to run against U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, has paid herself a $60,000 salary while running up a six-figure campaign debt,” according to the Sun Sentinel.
Spalding is running against twice-failed candidate Joe Kaufman, and businessman Carlos Reyes in the Republican primary for Florida’s 23rd Congressional District on August 28. The winner will take on perennial powerhouse and politically shady Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL).
“As she was spending heavily to raise her profile and more money, Spalding paid herself a salary with campaign funds. Federal Election Commission rules allow the practice, with restrictions, but it’s unusual for candidates to pay themselves,” said the Sun Sentinel. “The quarterly report show payments listed as “compensation” of $2,500 on April 2, April 13, May 1, May 21, May 31 and June 15, which is roughly every two weeks. On an annual basis, quarterly payments of $15,000 work out to $60,000.”
Spalding is not the only grifter in the primary race. Kaufman, who has run against Wasserman-Schultz spent most of his campaign money fundraising in 2014, and then sat on nearly $400,000 that he could have used to try to beat his opponent.
Kaufman did not really spend his campaign money, and when he did, he doesn’t spend it on beating his opponent, but rather on raising more money. For example, in 2014, Kaufman raised $830,234, and spent only $502,356, meaning that he left $378,472 on the table.
For example, FEC records show that he paid a group called Base Connect Inc., a direct mail advertising firm in Washington D.C., 10 times during his campaign, totaling $31,857 of expenditures.
When it came down to the wire during the 2014, Kaufman failed to spend $378,472. That total just sat in his campaign account unused. The FEC records show no major radio or television advertising purchases. Kaufman spent most of his campaign money on fundraising during the 2014 cycle, and none of it on voter contact, name or face recognition, or anything else that would have helped him beat Wasserman-Schultz.
Alan Levy, campaign consultant for Spalding, spoke to the Sun Sentinel about the salary and the debt.
“Carla works full-time on her congressional campaign,” he said. “[C]ampaign debt is not a strange thing. Fundraising requires upfront costs. … The campaign has and will continue as required under law to make timely payments for whatever is purchased.”
The report also said that Spalding made two $500 payments to Brandon Spalding-Riese, her adult son who is listed as “other campaign staff.”