Senators find leftover money after the campaign in their hand many times, and they use it mostly for official purposes to meet various expenses. A recent report on Washington State senators confirms that they use the surplus amount on clothes, food, travel, hotel rooms, furnishings, and more.
The state senator Doug Ericksen spent the surplus amount in airfare, food, and lodging in his journeys to the country capital. In detail, more than $2,000 spent on stay and $162 for meals. Apart from working in Trump administration, Ericksen is also appointed as the interim director of communications at the United States Environmental Protection Agency in January. There are some more lawmakers like Doug and are found to be using in meeting personal expenses in official duties. The Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) executive director Evelyn Lopez said the spending by Doug could be justifiable considering his duties and responsibilities.
The report also confirms that two other GOP senators used the extra funds to furnish their state capital offices. Another state Senator Kirk Pearson spent at least $1,300 on clothing and stated that the leftover donated to charity. It includes $500 each to the Rock Church and Monroe Food Bank along with a spent of $200 for Wounded Warrior Project. Even Marcus Riccelli, a member of House of Representatives and Democratic Party member, spent more than $1,250 to meet his air travels expenses shuttling between his constituency and the state capital.
The rules of the campaign finance direct the lawmakers to use the unspent money to either hold for future campaigns or donate to charities, political parties. It can also be used to meet any expenses for their official purpose which did not reimburse. Interestingly, PDC looks for any unauthorized spending but usually doesn’t act upon unless there is a complaint filed. Lopez said as long as the spending is on for public office related jobs, it is fine. However, if the legislator spends it on other jobs, it is illegitimate.
It is found that many lawmakers use the surplus amount for furnishing their offices and some of them justify that it avoids any use of taxpayer money. Lopez pointed out that though the spending on furniture is fine, the lawmakers should have a track on what happens with furniture as it is actually owned by the campaign.