A Democratic representative disbursed nearly $200,000 from his campaign funds to a law firm that is owned by his sister throughout the 2018 election cycle, according to a review of Federal Election Commission filings.
Rep. William Lacy Clay Jr. (D., Mo.) made the payments from his campaign committee, Clay Jr. for Congress, to the Law Office of Michelle C. Clay, LLC, a law firm owned by his sister, Michelle, that does not have a website and whose address appears to be a residential home in Silver Spring, Md., just outside of Washington, D.C.
The first payment to the firm this past cycle was in the amount of $9,000 and was made on Jan. 4, 2017, for professional services fees including fundraising and compliance. In addition to the fundraising and compliance services, the payments to Michelle Clay's firm were marked for community organizing, legal counsel, and record keeping.
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From Jan. 4 until Oct. 31, 2018, Rep. Clay Jr. disbursed numerous payments ranging from $500 to $10,000 and totaling $198,500 to his sister's firm, the filings show.
Clay's committee reported receipts of $656,571.62 throughout the election cycle, but only pulled in $83,000 in individual contributions. A majority of the money that went into Clay Jr.'s committee—$573,342.77—was transferred from corporate, union, and other political PACs.
The committee additionally reported total operating expenditures of $638,529.40. The $198,500 in payments made to the Law Office of Michelle C. Clay accounted for a quarter of all of payments that were disbursed from his campaign committee.
Clay Jr.'s campaign did not respond to a request for comment on the payments to the firm by press time.