Dem Rep Paid Sister’s Law Firm Nearly $30,000 in First Quarter

Rep. William Lacy Clay's payments to the law firm amounted to nearly 60 percent of all its expenditures

Rep. William Lacy Clay / Getty Images
• May 23, 2017 2:11 pm


Rep. William Lacy Clay (D., Mo.) disbursed nearly $30,000 of his campaign funds to a law firm owned by his sister during the first quarter, Federal Election Commission records show.

Clay's campaign committee, Clay Jr. for Congress, spent over $47,000 in the first quarter of 2017, which runs from Jan. 1 to March 31. A bulk of the money disbursed by his campaign went to the Law Office of Michelle C. Clay, LLC, a Silver Spring, Md.-based firm that is owned by his sister.

Michelle Clay has been paid $27,000 this year so far, accounting for 56 percent of all his campaign expenditures during the 2018 cycle so far.

The campaign committee made three separate payments of $9,000 to the law firm between January and March, filings show. The firm was paid for fundraising services, FEC filing and records keeping, and legal counsel.

Despite the firm pulling in $18,000 for fundraising purposes, Clay's campaign recorded only $258 in total individual contributions during this time. Political action committees added $12,000 to Clay's campaign.

Fraioli & Associates, a Washington, D.C.-based Democratic consulting firm, was also paid $6,000 for fundraising in the first quarter despite the campaign's poor fundraising haul.

Clay's campaign could not be reached for comment on the payments. His congressional office did not respond to inquiries by press time.

This is not the first time Clay has paid his sister from his campaign funds.

The St. Louis Democrat made $150,000 in payments to the firm throughout the 2016 election cycle, the Washington Free Beacon previously reported. Michelle Clay's firm has pocketed more than $800,000 since 2002, the year it first appeared on Rep. Clay's campaign payroll.

Clay has also made payments to his father's scholarship fund from his campaign coffers.

Bill Clay Sr., Clay's father, who is a former congressman in the same district currently represented by Clay Jr., founded the William J. Clay Scholarship and Research Fund in 1993 due to "concerns about rising college costs and the barrier of limited financial resources that many students face."

The fund awards four full-time undergraduate study scholarships and has received tens of thousands from his son's campaign.

The William J. Clay Scholarship and Research Fund was paid anywhere between $500 and $7,500 per election cycle between 2002 and 2016, records show. The payments from the campaign have amounted to $31,000 during this time.