The Los Angeles Times reports on the heated Democratic Congressional primary in California between Reps. Brad Sherman and Howard Berman. The former has accused the latter of making potentially illegal campaign payments to his brother.
In a complaint filed Thursday with the Federal Election Commission, the Sherman campaign alleges that Berman vastly, and illegally, overpaid Michael Berman or his political consulting firm for campaign services during two decades in which the congressman faced only token reelection challenges and spent relatively little to reach voters.
It's not illegal to hire family members for campaign work, and some other members of Congress also do it. But the practice is controversial, and federal campaign laws require that the services provided be legitimate and in line with the usual cost, or fair market value, of the job performed. …
The Sherman campaign scrutinized Berman's campaign reports to try to determine how much was spent on voter outreach such as mailers and TV and radio ads, and how much had gone to Michael Berman or his firm, Berman & D'Agostino Campaigns. From the 1992 election season through 2010, the Sherman campaign found some $493,000 apparently spent on voter contact. Michael Berman, whose specialty is direct mail and other outreach, had been paid $741,500 during the same period.