Eric Swalwell Spent Campaign Money at Super Bowl, $50K on NFL 'Event Tickets'

Rep. Eric Swalwell (Twitter).
February 23, 2024

California Democrat Rep. Eric Swalwell, known for using his campaign war chest as a "personal piggy bank," according to watchdog group American Accountability Foundation, spent campaign funds at the Super Bowl and paid $50,000 to NFL teams for "event tickets," records show.

Swalwell, a San Francisco 49ers superfan, attended the big game in Las Vegas with his wife on Feb. 11, where his beloved team lost to the Kansas City Chiefs. "Not the outcome we wanted," Swalwell said in a social media post from the game.

Swalwell’s attendance raises questions about how a congressman known for facing financial struggles was able to afford tickets that cost at least $10,000 apiece. It could also fuel complaints that Swalwell has used campaign money to fund an elaborate lifestyle. In 2021, a conservative watchdog group accused Swalwell of illegally using campaign funds for personal expenses, citing $20,000 in payments for luxury hotel stays. In December, Swalwell’s campaign paid $1,700 for his stay at the Burj al Arab, a five-star hotel in Dubai.

Swalwell may have used campaign money to pay a babysitter while he and his wife attended the Super Bowl. The campaign reimbursed Swalwell $540 on Feb. 12, a day after the game, for child care.

Swalwell, who is perhaps best known for his relationship with a Chinese spy named Fang Fang, is Congress’s most prolific user of campaign money for babysitter expenses. He filed a request with the FEC in 2022 seeking approval to use campaign money to pay babysitters during his foreign trips for congressional business. Last year, an ethics watchdog accused Swalwell of misusing campaign funds after he spent $17,000 on babysitters in the months following the 2022 election.

Whether Swalwell used campaign money to buy Super Bowl tickets remains unclear. His campaign and congressional office did not respond to requests for comment. But records show the campaign paid $21,626 to the San Francisco 49ers on Feb. 6 for "event tickets" for an unspecified fundraising event. Swalwell’s campaign also reimbursed San Francisco 49ers co-owner Gideon Yu on Feb. 8 for $962 worth of "event tickets."

Swalwell used campaign money while at the game—two payments of $51 for food and drinks to Allegiant Stadium, where the Super Bowl was held. Swalwell appears to have done some campaigning while at the Super Bowl, meeting with members of the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association PAC, according to the group’s website.

The campaign spent tens of thousands of dollars more on event tickets for other fundraisers. The Las Vegas Raiders received nearly $31,000 on Feb. 5 for a fundraising event. The nature of the event is also unclear, though the Raiders play at Allegiant Stadium. On Dec. 4, Swalwell’s campaign paid $1,560 for "event tickets" to Lincoln Financial Field, where Swalwell’s beloved 49ers played the hometown Philadelphia Eagles.

Swalwell’s campaign paid $29,815 to Ticketmaster between Jan. 23 and Jan. 29 for tickets to an unspecified event. The campaign paid $24,000 to Comcast NBCUniversal earlier this month for event tickets, and another $2,850 to Paramount Global, the owner of CBS.