by Frank Holmes, reporter
Maxine Waters loves to accuse Donald Trump of using illegal campaign tricks to become president… but for decades Waters has skirted — or outright broke — federal laws while her family made millions of dollars off the shady arrangement. Now, a federal watchdog is suing to bring her to justice.
The short version is: Maxine Waters’ endorsement is for sale if the price is right.
Waters mails her followers an “official sample ballot” with her picture and a list of candidates they should vote for…but the candidates have to pay for their place on the endorsement slate.
Waters admitted to the FEC in 2004 that “federal candidates who do not pay a proportionate share of the expenses” of her mailer “will not be included in the ballot.”
In other words, pay up or else. That sounds like the definition of a quid pro quo.
Waters is running a classic shakedown, experts say.
“She comes knocking on other politicians in California to say, ‘Do you want my endorsement?’ because she knows they don’t want her opposing them,” Tom Anderson, a director at the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), told Fox News.
“A local politician, like a judge, does not want to be on her bad side,” Anderson said.
So, Waters makes them an offer they can’t refuse: You either pay her, or she’ll tell her low-information followers that you support Trump, Anderson explains.
Lots of California Democrats have greased her palms over the years—including California’s incoming governor, Gavin Newsom, as well as Senator Barbara Boxer and Sen. Kamala Harris have paid for the endorsement mailer. You can see a list of contributors here.
The money — millions of dollars over more than a decade — gets collected by Waters’ family. And the deal has made Waters’ family filthy, stinking rich.
Until 2004, the slate mailers were run by a group called L.A. Vote, which made $1.7 million off the operation — and the congresswoman’s daughter, Karen Waters, collected $450,000 of that payday. Maxine Waters’ son, Edward, pocketed another $115,000.
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Karen Waters raked in $800,000 since 2004—and is expecting a major haul this year. She’s collected $108,000 by selling her mother’s endorsement so far this election season… and Democrats owe her $183,022.
That means the congresswoman’s daughter made $291,022 in 2018 alone — putting her in the top 10 percent of income earners that Maxine Waters loves to rail against.
The congresswoman enriched her family, but in 2004 she asked the Federal Election Commission to find a loophole that gives her a piece of the action, too.
The decision she squeezed out of the feds let candidates make contributions for the mailing directly to Maxine Waters’ congressional campaign… and her family still gets their cut!
The FEC ruled that the candidates weren’t paying for Waters’ endorsement, just the printing costs for appearing on Waters’ mailer.
That not only gave Waters’ a huge war chest in her safe Democratic district. It also lets her bust federal campaign finance limits, which say people can’t contribute more than $2,700 a candidate’s committee or $5,000 to a political action committee (PAC).
But these “reimbursements” have netted Waters up to $30,000 a pop. For example, Sen. Kamala Harris bought Waters’ endorsement twice, paying her dirty operation a total of $63,000.
“This certainly violates the spirit of campaign finance laws,” said John Wonderlich, executive director of the Sunlight Foundation, a left-leaning and anti-Trump group that blew the whistle on Waters’ practices in 2010.
Whether this is amounts to the illegal “enrichment of a family member” depends “on the extent to which the money passes through,” Wonderlich said.
Even under these loose rules, Waters can’t stay on the right side of the law, according to a national watchdog organization—and she may face justice for it.
Remember those two payments from Kamala Harris? One of them broke the law, according to the NLPC.
“Candidates like Harris may legally pay Waters’ campaign,” the NLPC said. But outside groups and political parties can’t…and they have, at least twice.
Waters’ entire campaign scheme seems sketchy, unethical…and possibly illegal. That’s especially ironic from someone who prides herself on saying President Trump should face “impeachment, impeachment, impeachment.”
Trump should tell his administration to investigate her pay-to-play shakedown, which has made her family incredibly wealthy, see which laws the Waters have broken—and throw the book at them all.
Frank Holmes is a reporter for The Horn News. He is a veteran journalist and an outspoken conservative that talks about the news that was in his weekly article, “On The Holmes Front.”