Rep. Waters turns political endorsements into a family business

Ed Lasky
Legal or not, this looks to be tainted money. Nice work if one can get it, though :
Rep. Maxine Waters has turned political endorsements into a family business, using federal election laws to charge California candidates and political causes to include their names as her personal picks on a sample ballot, or "slate mailer," she sends to as many as 200,000 South Central Los Angeles voters, records show.

Some statewide candidates paid as much as $45,000 for their share of the costs to be included in the mailer, according to state and federal election records, and while it can be costly for the candidates, the mailer has proved profitable for Mrs. Waters' daughter, Karen.

Karen Waters' public relations firm, Progressive Connections, has been paid $354,500 since late 2004 to direct production and distribution of the mailer - about a third of the $1 million collected from the candidates and issue groups seeking to be included on the sample ballot, the records show...

Some consultants and watchdogs are troubled that Mrs. Waters' campaign is charging candidates she endorses to be included in her mailer and said it borders on "pay-to-play" schemes, which have recently come under scrutiny by federal authorities.

"It is astonishing that politicians can cash in on their positions by selling their endorsements," said Melanie Sloan, a former federal prosecutor who now heads the political watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

Once again, a Democratic politician with serious ethics problems shows that her claim to be for the "little people" is just a campaign slogan when it comes to helping people as part of a friends and family program. Not only can votes be for sale, but endorsements can be as well.

Legal or not, this looks to be tainted money. Nice work if one can get it, though :

Rep. Maxine Waters has turned political endorsements into a family business, using federal election laws to charge California candidates and political causes to include their names as her personal picks on a sample ballot, or "slate mailer," she sends to as many as 200,000 South Central Los Angeles voters, records show.

Some statewide candidates paid as much as $45,000 for their share of the costs to be included in the mailer, according to state and federal election records, and while it can be costly for the candidates, the mailer has proved profitable for Mrs. Waters' daughter, Karen.

Karen Waters' public relations firm, Progressive Connections, has been paid $354,500 since late 2004 to direct production and distribution of the mailer - about a third of the $1 million collected from the candidates and issue groups seeking to be included on the sample ballot, the records show...

Some consultants and watchdogs are troubled that Mrs. Waters' campaign is charging candidates she endorses to be included in her mailer and said it borders on "pay-to-play" schemes, which have recently come under scrutiny by federal authorities.

"It is astonishing that politicians can cash in on their positions by selling their endorsements," said Melanie Sloan, a former federal prosecutor who now heads the political watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

Once again, a Democratic politician with serious ethics problems shows that her claim to be for the "little people" is just a campaign slogan when it comes to helping people as part of a friends and family program. Not only can votes be for sale, but endorsements can be as well.