Maxine Waters’ Campaign Paid Her Daughter More Than $80K This Past Year

'They do their business and I do mine. We are not bad people...'

The campaign of Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., paid her daughter more than $80,000 this past year, according to campaign-finance records.

The records show that Waters’s re-election campaign paid her daughter, Karen Waters, a cumulative $74,000 in donor cash through September 2021. This last quarter alone, Waters’ campaign paid Karen more than $20,000.

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 for her work.

According to the disclosures, Karen helps her mother’s campaign organize slate-mailing operations.

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Karen isn’t the only family member who has profited from Waters’s campaigns.

A 2004 report found that various members of her family, including her son and husband, had received more than $1 million from businesses and campaigns relating to the congresswoman. 

Waters defended the payments at the time, saying she was not involved with their business.

“They do their business and I do mine,” she said. “We are not bad people.”

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Several other Democrats have come under fire for paying family members from their campaigns as well. Most recently, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., was criticized for quietly funneling campaign funds to her husband’s consulting firm just weeks after they were married.

In total, Omar’s husband received a whopping $878,930.65 from Omar’s campaign since he began working for her in 2018.

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 Profiles in Corruption.

Ethics experts have long called for election laws to be changed so that family members cannot work for politicians’ campaigns.

“It should not be allowed,” said attorney Richard W. Painter, who served as chief ethics lawyer for former president George W. Bush.“I think it’s a horrible idea to allow it, given the amount of money that goes into these campaigns from special interests.”

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