The Federal Election Commission has strict rules governing how campaign funds can be spent by congressional candidates, particularly with regard to the candidate themselves and their immediate family members.
A Democratic congresswoman from Connecticut, Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-CT), is now under scrutiny for paying tens of thousands of dollars overall in campaign funds to her son and daughter, as well as a questionable “petty cash” payment to herself, the Daily Caller reported.
The outlet had previously raised the issue in February, prompting local media to begin probing the matter, but disclosure records appear to indicate that the payments from Hayes’ campaign to her adult children have continued.
Questionable campaign payments to adult children, “petty cash” withdrawal
According to FEC records on disbursements up to the end of Q4 in December 2021 pertaining to the “Friends of Jahana Hayes” campaign, the congresswoman’s adult son David Crenshaw has been paid more than $15,000 since at least November 2019.
Those biweekly “payroll” payments were typically in an amount of around $283, with one payment of about $685 in November 2021, which altogether totals approximately $15,118.54.
Those same FEC records over the same time period also showed that Hayes’ adult daughter, Asia Clermont, had received biweekly “payroll” payments of around $360, with a one-time payment of $755 in November 2021, since at least August 2019, totaling roughly $21,300 overall.
Furthermore, Q1 FEC records showed that the same payments to Crenshaw and Clermont have continued and, on top of that, also revealed that Hayes herself drew a $250 payment for “petty cash” on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14.
That petty cash payment may not sound like much, but the Daily Caller noted that it is possibly in violation of strict FEC rules regarding petty cash disbursements. Specifically, petty cash payments to any single individual or entity “may not exceed $100.”
Congresswoman says campaign jobs for family are legitimate and legal
In response to the initial reporting from the Daily Caller on the questions regarding Rep. Hayes’ campaign fund disbursements to her children, The CT Mirror reported that Hayes’ Republican opponent, George Logan, called upon the House Ethics Committee to investigate the legitimacy of those payments.
The Mirror noted that campaign funds payments for personal use or to family members is generally prohibited unless those family members are paid a fair market wage for an actual legitimate job with the campaign.
In that regard, Hayes’ campaign has claimed that the congresswoman’s daughter, Clermont, is tasked with handling her mother’s scheduling while her son, Crenshaw, takes care of digital and tech support matters.
In a statement to local media outlet WTNH on Feb. 2, Hayes defended the payments to her children as being perfectly legal and explained, “The positions that you’re asking about are handling of my personal passwords and calendars and things that are deeply important, so to have someone stay on after the election season and have the consistency and also the trust … again it’s not uncommon.”