Campaign fund or slush fund?
Campaign of departing Dem Wexler spent $346,998 in fourth quarter
by George Bennett | February 1st, 2010
Democrat Robert Wexler announced in October that he was leaving Congress. But his congressional campaign committee still spent $346,998 during the fourth quarter of 2009, a new report shows.The Wexler campaign paid more than $120,000 in “end-of-career bonuses” to Wexler congressional staffers who doubled as campaign workers and spent more than $87,000 on mailings. Wexler sent a 150,000-piece thank-you mailing to voters in Palm Beach-Broward congressional District 19 who elected the self-described “fire-breathing liberal” seven times.
Wexler left office Jan. 3 to head the nonprofit Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Cooperation.
According to a Federal Election Commission report filed Sunday, the Wexler campaign paid $39,000 in the fourth quarter of 2009 to Eric Johnson, who was Wexler’s chief of staff and political consultant throughout his seven terms. Another $33,500 went to Daniela Acosta and $22,000 to Wendi Lipsich, a pair of aides who worked in Wexler’s South Florida congressional office and also did campaign work.
“Most of the people who received a bonus from Robert had worked for him 14 years,” Johnson said.
Wexler’s campaign also gave $6,000 to the congressional campaign of Democrat Ted Deutch, who Wexler has endorsed to succeed him.
Deutch and Ben Graber are running in a special Democratic primary Tuesday. Three Republicans are running in a GOP primary Tuesday. The primary winners and no-party candidate Jim McCormick will compete in an April 13 special election to replace Wexler.
Even after the fourth-quarter spending spree, Wexler’s campaign committee has $637,967 left over in case Wexler ever decides to attempt a political comeback.