This past quarter, Waters’s campaign paid her daughter, Karen Waters, who organizes slate-mailing operations for her mother, and her company, Progressive Connections, more than $24,000 for campaign services including “slate mailer management” and “campaign managing services,” according to Fox News.
During the 2020 election cycle, Waters’s campaign funneled $250,000 to her daughter. Since 2003, when she first began working on her mother’s campaign, Karen has made more than $1.1 million from her mother.
Though both Republican and Democrat candidates have paid relatives with campaign contributions over the years, a number of ethical experts have raised concerns about the practice.
Omar, for example, came under a good deal of scrutiny for hiring her husband’s political consulting firm and paying it nearly $3 million over several years.
“It should not be allowed,” attorney Richard W. Painter, who served as chief ethics lawyer in the George W. Bush White House, said about Omar.
“I think it’s a horrible idea to allow it, given the amount of money that goes into these campaigns from special interests.”
Omar finally agreed to stop paying her husband, Tim Mynett, and his political consulting firm, E Street Group, in November 2020. But a recent report revealed that she has again started quietly funneling money back into E Street Group’s bank account.
Records show that E Street Group received a $15,000 research-consulting payment from the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party’s federal committee on Feb. 25, just two days after Omar’s campaign transferred $15,000 into the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party’s coffers.
President Joe Biden’s family also has exploited a number of ethical loopholes. During Biden’s Senate career his sister, Valerie, who functioned as his longtime campaign manager, was paid from campaign funds for public relations work she performed, while also drawing a salary from the PR firm, according to Peter Schweizer‘s book “Profiles in Corruption“.
Both Omar and Waters have defended paying their family members.
“They do their business and I do mine,” Waters said back in 2004. “We are not bad people.”
In 2020, Omar defended her campaign’s partnership with her husband and said E Street Group is “essential to the work we and other campaigns do every day.”
However, federal election records show that Omar’s payments to E Street Group made up nearly 80% of the firm’s revenue.
My relationship with Tim began long after this work started.
We consulted with a top FEC campaign attorney to ensure there were no possible legal issues with our relationship. We were told this is not uncommon and that no, there weren’t.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) March 17, 2020