Never let it be said that a Democrat has ever found something he wouldn’t waste other people’s money on. Actually, that likely applies to politicians in general.
The Washington Free Beacon reported Monday that former Senator and Minority Leader, Harry Reid (D – NV) paid a former staffer $7,000 in campaign funds from the campaign committee, Friends for Harry Reid, to paint a portrait of the senator that will hang in the U.S. Capitol.
The unveiling ceremony sounds like the stuff of nightmares, with people like Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, not to mention the portrait figure himself, Harry Reid, in attendance.
According to the Free Beacon, the use of campaign funds for such a purchase is not unprecedented,
Rep. Charlie Rangel (D., NY.) paid $64,500 for a self-portrait and custom frame using money from his leadership PAC in 2007.
Rangel’s lawyer at the time, Phu Huynh, wrote a letter to the Federal Election Commission asking permission to use either campaign funds or leadership PAC funds to pay for the portrait.
The FEC said in an October 2007 advisory opinion that Rangel could use campaign funds to pay because “the U.S. House of Representatives is an organization described in section 170(c) of Title 26 and because payment for the portrait would not financially benefit Representative Rangel or any member of his family.”
The FEC also said that leadership PAC funds could be used because “the payment would not be an in-kind contribution for the purpose of influencing any election.”
Charlie Rangel paid $64,500! Who knew Harry Reid was such a great haggler. Or perhaps he was just lucky that he could hire a former staffer at a discount.
Whatever the case, the only real disappointment about the portrait is that it’s not reflective of the months after his battle with “exercise equipment” and resulting eye patch. That would’ve been money well spent in that case.