Gallagher, Tiffany Introduce Bill to Stop Lawmakers from Funneling Campaign Cash to Spouses
February 5, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Reps. Mike Gallagher (WI-08) and Tom Tiffany (WI-07) today introduced the Oversight for Members And Relatives (OMAR) Act, a bill that would put an end to the practice of candidates for office tapping their campaign accounts to enrich their spouses.
“Loopholes that allow members of Congress to funnel campaign funds to their spouses are despicable and erode trust in our government,” said Rep. Gallagher. “There’s simply no logical reason for allowing this practice to continue, and I’m proud to join Rep. Tiffany in this common-sense effort to ensure members can’t profit off running for Congress.”
“For too long, lawmakers of both political parties have engaged in the ethically dubious practice of pocketing campaign funds by ‘hiring’ their spouses and laundering the money as campaign related expenses,” said Rep. Tiffany. “It is outrageous and inappropriate for Members of Congress to convert campaign donations to personal funds in this way. It feeds public perceptions of corruption, undermines public trust in Congress, and must come to an end. Regardless of political party, we should all be able to agree that running for political office shouldn’t be part of a family enrichment scheme. Passing the OMAR Act will help restore public confidence in Congress and stop politicians from effectively pocketing their campaign funds.”
Fox News reported how an incumbent House member from Minnesota took advantage of this loophole and “paid nearly $2.8 million to her husband's political consulting firm so far in the 2019-2020 election cycle, including nearly 70% of her third-quarter disbursements.” To put this huge sum in perspective, it appears to be more than all members of Congress paid their immediate relatives during the entire 2012 election cycle, combined.
In 2007, Rep. Adam Schiff called for House approval of a ban on campaign payments to spouses “an important step forward in restoring the public’s confidence that elected officials are working in the public’s interest and not their own.” Speaker Pelosi, too, praised the House action, saying it would “increase transparency in election campaigns and [prevent] the misuse of funds.” Majority Leader Hoyer also applauded the measure, adding that it would “restore high ethical standards to Washington and clean up the culture of corruption.”
This bill is a part of Rep. Gallagher's broader initiative to drain the swamp and change the cash incentive structure for members of Congress. Earlier this week, he introduced a package of bills that would establish a five year lobbying ban for members of Congress and high-ranking executive branch officials, terminate taxpayer-funded pensions for members of Congress, and prevent Congress from recessing without first adopting a balanced federal budget.