Dem Rep Paid Sister’s Law Firm Nearly $150K From Campaign Funds in 2016

William Lacy Clay paid sister's firm more than $800,000 since 2002

Former Rep. William L. Clay Sr. congratulates his son Lacy Clay as the results were announced in Missouri's first congressional district race in 2012 / AP
• February 6, 2017 4:58 am


Rep. William Lacy Clay (D., Mo.) dished out nearly $150,000 in campaign funds to a law firm owned by his sister during the 2016 election cycle and has paid more than $800,000 to the firm since 2002.

The St. Louis Democrat has also paid more than $30,000 to his father's scholarship fund over the years.

Clay began paying family members from his campaign committee, Clay Jr. for Congress, almost immediately after entering Congress in 2001.

Michelle Clay, his sister, is the owner of the Law Office of Michelle C. Clay located in Silver Spring, Md., just outside of Washington, D.C.

Clay's firm first appeared on the campaign payroll of Clay Jr. for Congress in 2002, and has been its largest recipient of cash on numerous occasions.

Michelle received $32,300 in payments from the campaign during the 2002 election cycle, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. The payments increased to $53,317 in 2004 and $53,651 in 2006 for data entry, legal services, and fundraising consulting fees.

During the 2008 cycle, payments to the firm spiked to $134,353. Between the 2010 and 2014 cycles, the campaign paid the law firm $410,963.

The law firm received the highest amount yet in 2016, pulling in $146,390.

Clay's sister was not the only family member who has benefited from his campaign committee.

Bill Clay Sr., Clay's father and a Missouri congressman in the same district for 32 years, created the William J. Clay Scholarship and Research Fund in 1983 out of "concerns about rising college costs and the barrier of limited financial resources that many students face."

The fund, which awards four scholarships for full-time undergraduate study, has received tens of thousands in donations from his son's campaign committee.

Between 2002 and 2016, the William J. Clay Scholarship and Research Fund took in anywhere between $500 and $7,500 per election cycle. It has received around $31,000 in total donations over the past 15 years from his son's campaign committee.

Clay's office did not return a request for comment on the payments.

Published under: Democratic Party