A Democratic House leader has paid his brother nearly $70,000 for "rent" from his campaign funds since 2007.
Rep. Joseph Crowley (D., N.Y.), the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, made $69,700 worth of payments to Killean Enterprises LLC, a company that is owned by the Democratic leader's lobbyist brother, the New York Post reports.
The office space rented by the campaign is located outside of the district that Rep. Crowley represents. It is also located at the same address as Crowley & Kaufman, a law firm that is operated by Crowley's campaign treasurer.
"This, without a doubt, raises red flags about conflicts of interest," John Kaehny, chairman of the NYC Transparency Group, told the Post. "As an important public official, you want to be above suspicion, not raising suspicion."
According to House Ethics rules, a lawmaker is allowed to pay rent to relatives for office space under limited circumstances. A space may be rented from a family member if a "bona fide campaign need" is shown and if fair market value is paid for the lease.
The Post notes that Crowley already has office space at the Queens Democratic headquarters.
Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, a Virginia-based watchdog group, told the Post the fact that it’s a key point that the rented office space is located outside of his district.
"What he uses it for — it's as old as politics — it's called a slush fund. And what do you know? It goes to a family-connected entity," Boehm said.
Published under: House Democrats