Top House Dems continue paying family members thousands of dollars using campaign funds


FIRST ON FOX: Top House Democrats Maxine Waters and James Clyburn have continued to shell out tens of thousands of dollars in campaign funds to their family members ahead of the November midterm elections.

The re-election campaign for Waters, the U.S. House Financial Services Committee chairwoman, paid a total of $16,000 to the congresswoman’s daughter in four separate payments in July and September of this year.

Karen Waters, who has been organizing slate-mailing operations to bolster her mother’s re-election since 2003, and her company, Progressive Connections, have received more than $1.2 million from Waters’ campaign over the past nearly two decades.

A Federal Election Commission (FEC) filing this week by Citizens for Waters shows that Karen Waters received a total of $16,000 from the committee this quarter for “slate mailer management fees.”


Slate-mailing is an uncommon practice in federal elections, when a consulting firm is hired to create a pamphlet of sorts that contains a list of candidates or policy measures and advises voters how to cast their ballots.

Waters, D-Calif., was reportedly the only federal politician to use a slate-mailer operation during the 2020 general election.

Other members of the Waters family have also made off with donor cash over the course of the congresswoman’s decades-long career. In 2004, the Los Angeles Times revealed that the Waters campaign had shelled out over $1 million to other family members over the previous eight years. 


Clyburn, the House majority whip, also has a history of shelling out campaign money to his family members. His re-election campaign paid $7,500 for “office rent” in August to a company called 49 Magnolia Blossom LLC, according to FEC records

According to South Carolina business records, Walter A. Reed, who is married to Clyburn’s daughter, Jennifer Clyburn Reed, is the registered agent of the limited liability company. LittleSis lists her as the co-owner of the property investment company.

Clyburn has paid nearly $80,000 in campaign funds to the company since March 2020.

Clyburn’s grandson, Walter A.C. Reed, who is managing Clyburn’s re-election campaign, received five $3,500 payments between July and September, totaling $17,500, from Friends of Jim Clyburn. Reed also received a $500 “travel stipend” in August and a $223.87 payment for “vehicle repair” in September from the campaign. He has now received over $75,000 from the Clyburn campaign since last October.

The South Carolina Democrat’s campaign also distributed more than $20,000 in checks to Angela Hannibal, another one of his daughters, for canvassing, truck rentals, catering and voter outreach between April 2018 and October 2019, according to his committee’s records.

Angela’s husband, Cecil, has also received money from the campaign, pocketing nearly $70,000 for community and district outreach and travel reimbursements between 2010 and 2012.

Both Democrats and Republicans have paid relatives with campaign contributions over the years. In 2020, Open Secrets published a piece showing incumbent politicians in Congress on both sides of the aisle lavishing their family members with campaign cash. While it is legal for federal lawmakers to employ family members on campaigns, the practice is generally frowned upon by ethics experts. 

Waters’ and Clyburn’s campaigns did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s requests for comment.

Fox News’ Caitlin McFall, Houston Keene and Joe Schoffstall contributed to this report.

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