Complaint: Campaign Staffer Illegally Using Late Congressman’s Leftover Campaign Funds to Pay Himself a Large Salary, Nearly 18 Months After Congressman Leaves Office
Today, Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging that the treasurer of former Congressman Mark Takai’s (HI-01) campaign committee, Dylan Beesley, has illegally converted the late Congressman’s leftover campaign funds to personal use.
Since Takai’s death on July 20, 2016, Beesley has used Takai’s campaign account to pay himself more than $100,000, despite apparently doing little to wind-down the campaign or direct the leftover funds to charity or other candidates. In 2017, Beesley used Takai’s campaign committee to pay his consulting firm $74,869, which is 88.4 percent of the $84,662 the committee spent on operating expenditures over the calendar year.
“Donors gave to Takai’s campaign to support his run for office, not so his treasurer can pocket the cash,” said Brendan Fischer, director, federal and FEC reform at CLC. “It is not clear how Beesley can justify paying himself nearly $6,000 per month to manage a campaign that no longer exists.”
After a Member of Congress leaves office, their campaign committee may legally donate leftover funds to charity, transfer funds to their party, make contributions to other candidates, or pay for the costs of winding-down their campaign or closing their office, which FEC regulations anticipate should take about six months. Yet nearly eighteen months after Takai’s passing, his campaign committee appears to be doing little else besides providing Beesley a source of income.
The FEC is the only government agency dedicated to overseeing the integrity of our political campaigns. With the 2018 midterm election approaching, it is more important than ever that the FEC enforce the law so candidates and their staffers do not feel free to commit similar violations. If we had a strong FEC, we would not be seeing the personal use of campaign funds go unpunished. The FEC’s failure to resolve past complaints of this nature of have led to abuses of the system.