Rep. Maxine Waters's (D., Calif.) campaign paid the congresswoman's daughter hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds during the 2020 election cycle, according to Federal Election Commission records.
Karen Waters received $240,000 from her mother’s campaign for a variety of campaign activities, including soliciting campaign contributions from other candidates in exchange for the congresswoman's endorsement on campaign mailers, Fox News reported.
This is not the first time Maxine Waters has used the controversial practice to raise funds for her campaign, and her campaign has paid her daughter for years to help manage the scheme.
From 2006 through 2020, Waters’s campaign shelled out more than $1 million to her daughter—either directly or through Progressive Connections, Karen Waters’s public relations firm—for producing what are known as slate mailers featuring her mother's endorsement of California candidates. Karen Waters raked in more than $200,000 from her mother’s campaign during the 2018 election cycle, the Washington Free Beacon first reported.
Watchdog groups have filed complaints asking the FEC to audit Waters's campaign for using the mailers. The campaign has faced criticism for the mailers since 2010, when one watchdog group first reported that the congresswoman had been paying her daughter to run the operation.
California Democrats including Governor Gavin Newsom, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have donated tens of thousands of dollars to Waters’s campaign for the endorsement mailers.
Though the FEC caps individual campaign contributions at $2,800, payments for the slate mailers are considered "reimbursements" for Waters’s endorsement. The commission issued an advisory opinion in 2004 allowing Waters permission to run the operation through her campaign.
Waters was first elected to Congress in 1990 and serves California's 43rd Congressional District.