Here’s a look at a popular political slush fund — the leadership PACs established by people like Sens. John Boozman and Tom Cotton to raise money from special interests in luxury settings, sometimes for spending on political races, sometimes just for high living.
Here’s a report by KARK/Fox 16 on spending by Cotton and Boozman.
Over the last two years, Sen. Boozman dropped more than $40,000 during two weekend fundraisers at The Breakers.
Over the same period, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) spent more than $12,000 for donor events at swanky D.C. restaurants.
He has a hold for the Ritz Carlton in Saint Thomas, where he plans to hold a fundraiser next year.
The leadership PACs have critics.
“The rules on the books say Leadership PAC money can be spent for almost anything,” says Michael Beckel with Issue One.
Beckel’s organization, Issue One, conducted a nationwide study that found lawmakers around the country use the money for everything from overseas trips and golf memberships to luxury hotels and fancy restaurants.
Ellen Weintraub is the Vice Chair of the Federal Elections Commission. She has spent years trying to rein in spending by Leadership PACs.
“I don’t think their intent is to subsidize the lifestyle of the people who are receiving the money,” says Weintraub.
But they have defenders like former FEC Commissioner Hans Von Spakovsky, a right-winger