Posted For: AriesTonto
Embattled Democratic Rep. Jahana Hayes of Connecticut continues to shell out tens of thousands of dollars in campaign funds to her family members and friends as she tries to cling to her seat in next month’s midterm elections.
Multiple outlets have rated Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District a “toss-up” race despite it leaning Democrat for over a decade. Hayes, who made history as the first Black woman and Black Democrat to represent Connecticut in Congress, is being challenged by Republican George Logan, a former two-term state senator.
According to Federal Election Commission filings, Hayes’ campaign paid the congresswoman’s son, David Crenshaw, $1,494.76 in “payroll” during the third quarter, adding to a total of $18,283 since Hayes first started running for Congress in 2018.
The campaign paid the congresswoman’s daughter, Asia Clermont, $2,155.50 in “payroll” during the same quarter for a total of $27,766 since 2018.
WTNH reported in March that Hayes’ daughter works as a scheduler for the campaign while her son handles digital support for the campaign’s social media and that both earn $15 per hour.
The campaign also paid Hayes’ cousin, Malika Watson, $1,102.20 in “payroll” this quarter for a total of $4,057 in “payroll” and for “office cleaning services” since 2018.
Hayes has also paid herself with campaign funds – $250 for “petty cash” on Feb. 14 and $580 for “childcare reimbursement” on June 10, 2018.
Hayes defended paying her family members with campaign cash as recently as August.
“It’s not illegal, and I’m not worried about the perception of nepotism because I hired them to work on my campaign, and they have worked on my campaign,” she told WTIC. “This has been raised over and over again. I’m not worried about the perception, because I haven’t done anything wrong.”
“The work has to be legitimate work, and you have to pay them at a rate that is commensurate with the rest of your staff,” she said in February. “All of those things are done. They’ve been transparently disclosed, and this is not enriching my family.”
According to FEC filings, Hayes’ campaign has also doled out nearly a half million dollars to two of the congresswoman’s church friends who now work with her campaign.
During this quarter, Hayes’ campaign paid $21,865 in “payroll” and “petty cash” to Chanita Thompson, the pastor of Christ Methodist Episcopal Church in Waterbury, where Hayes is a longtime member. Since first running for Congress, Hayes has paid Thompson, who was featured in Hayes’ first ad of the 2022 cycle, $235,491 in “payroll,” “petty cash,” and for “administrative services.”
The campaign also paid $20,157.24 this quarter to Barbara Ellis, Hayes’ campaign manager, for a total of $225,392 since first running for Congress. Both Ellis and Hayes have been described by Pastor Thompson as church “family.”
In total, Hayes’ campaign payments to her family members and friends is nearing $500,000.
“The only people paid on this campaign are campaign staffers,” Ellis told Fox News Digital in an email.
The campaign finances of House Democrats have come under scrutiny as the party scrambles to retain its razor-thin majority. Republicans need to pick up just five additional seats in November to secure a majority in the House
Fox News Digital reported Monday that top Democratic Reps. James Clyburn and Maxine Waters have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to their children and family members over the years.
Both Democrats and Republicans have paid relatives with campaign contributions, according to a 2020 report by OpenSecrets. While it is legal for federal lawmakers to employ family members on campaigns, the practice is generally frowned upon by ethics experts.