Barbara Boxer Subsidizing Relatives with Campaign Contributions

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has diverted nearly half a million in contributions from her political action committee to her son’s political consulting firm from 2001 to 2009, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings.

Boxer and Associates, owned by son Douglas Boxer, has in the last 8 years profited to the tune of $497,409.17, $36,000 of which was from last year alone as the politically-vulnerable Boxer readies for a contentious reelection campaign in the fall. These $36,000 in fees are supplementary to the $141,000 Boxer’s leadership PAC awarded her son in 2008 for fundraising consulting.

The subject of a 2007 Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) exposé on the practice of politicians using campaign funds to employ relatives, Boxer insists on keeping it in the family–with expenditures to her son’s firm the highest among all others for the 2010 cycle–despite concerns from constituents and watchdog groups.

Renewing interest in Senator Boxer’s family emoluments, the young Boxer Tuesday sent an email requesting supporters donate to his mother’s campaign “because she always wanted to make things better for our family.”

Carly Fiorina campaign spokeswoman Julie Soderlund sounded the alarm and questioned if the young Boxer was once again profiting from his mother’s sizable campaign war chest.

“Doug Boxer wasn’t kidding when he signed off this letter to donors by saying ‘our entire family is so grateful for your strong support’ – he’s grateful more than anyone since he’s been lining his pockets with hundreds of thousands of dollars thanks to his mother’s long career in politics,” Soderlund said in a statement.

“Ethical questions have been repeatedly raised regarding this financial arrangement, but that hasn’t stopped either of the Boxers from continuing with this questionable behavior and putting their own interests first.”

To the near-exclusion of regular citizens, Boxer’s “PAC for a Change” is largely supported by labor unions, malpractice law firms, and the entertainment industry — on whose behalf Douglas Boxer will no doubt lobby his mother in return for their generous support over the last 8 years.

Ethics legislation to amend federal election law barring political committees and leadership pacs from employing the candidate’s spouse and further requiring them to report all expenditures made to immediate family members passed the House of Representatives in 2008.

It met opposition in the Senate, however, and was never released from committee, providing the necessary cover for the Senator and son Boxer to further skirt reasonable campaign ethics reporting.

With polls proving her vulnerable to Republican challenges, Senator Boxer will fundraise–with son Douglas in tow, no doubt–with the fierce urgency of now, likely vaulting her well-heeled progeny well over the half-million threshold. And despite criticism from CREW and the like, Boxer has little interest in changing course 16 years in.

Cross-posted to Skepticians.com.

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