Top Democrat Caught Spending $29k on Travel after Telling Constituents to 'Stay Home'
Calls for ethics investigation into Democratic New York Rep. Sean Maloney
A top New York Democrat has been caught spending thousands of dollars on travel last year, at the same time he was telling his constituents to "stay home" and "stop spreading this virus."
Calls are now mounting for an ethics investigation into the lavish spending by Democratic New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who leads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
The Democrat lawmaker's unusual spending habits were exposed in a report from the Washington Free Beacon this week.
Financial records obtained by the outlet show Rep. Maloney spent almost $29,000 on "ground transportation" and "automobile expenses" in the last nine months of 2020.
The exorbitant spending came despite Maloney shutting down in-person campaign operations while blaming the pandemic on people refusing to stay home and traveling unnecessarily.
The excessive spending on travel included "nearly $20,000 in lease and insurance payments, more than $3,600 in collision repairs, nearly $2,200 in gas, more than $2,100 in rental car fees, and nearly $500 for a satellite radio subscription," the Free Beacon revealed.
"Stay at home," the lawmaker said during a radio interview.
"Don't go out if you don't need to, minimize your contact with other people."
"If a member of your family is sick, the whole family's got to stay home so we don't go spread it."
What's more is that Maloney's spending far outweighed that of fellow Democratic Rep. Antonio Delgado.
Rep. Delgado didn't disclose any car-related expenditures last year, despite his congressional district being nearly six times the size of Maloney's neighboring district, the Free Beacon noted.
Delgado also reportedly transitioned to virtual events during the pandemic.
U.S. campaign finance laws prevent candidates from using donor funds to pay for personal travel.
In response to the news, some ethics experts have weighed in with concerns.
Kendra Arnold, executive director of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, told the Free Beacon that Maloney's expenditures raised "red flags" and that the congressman "has a duty to explain" the payments.
"Candidates don't have to link [disbursements] to a specific corresponding event," Arnold noted.
"We generally look for spending that isn't in the realm of a candidate in the same state or in a similar-sized district."
This is reportedly not the first time that Maloney has been the subject of complaints over alleged ethics violations.
While simultaneously running for New York attorney general and House re-election in 2018, Maloney funneled $1.4 million from his federal re-election campaign to fund his state AG run, prompting a lawsuit and ethics complaints from another progressive candidate.
The congressman also made headlines in 2020 when he called religious liberty a "bogus term" used only to discriminate against LGBTQ people.