It turns out you don’t have to actually get elected to office to collect a salary, you can just pay yourself to campaign for it.

According to Democrat Mark Williams, who is running for Jared Polis’s open seat in the Boulder area’s 2nd Congressional District, that’s what it means to be a citizen candidate.

In other words, he’s not rich like Polis and had to dip into his savings to run for office, so he decided to pay himself a salary with campaign contributions.

Turns out that is mostly legal, according to Colorado Politics which found the questionable payments and questioned Williams about it.

Long story short, Williams wasn’t doing it right and has to return about $5,680 he paid himself for November and December. But once he files his petitions in March, he can start paying himself a salary again.

So far, he had paid himself about 42 percent of the total amount he had raised, nearly $13,650.

His reasoning for doing so is a little squirrelly. He says it’s because he doesn’t have a consulting company or law firm paying him to run. Quite honestly, we’re not sure that would even be legal.

And this:

“We want to send a message this is what a citizen candidate can do — run for Congress,” Williams said. “From a skin-in-the-game perspective, I can’t live on that kind of money, so I’m having to draw on my savings to stay in the game.”

I think the message he sends is that candidates don’t have to make financial sacrifices anymore to run for office. They can get a job as a professional candidate.