In a shameful manipulation of federal campaign finance laws, more than 100 campaign committees across America have stayed open years after the affiliated officeholder left office (or died, in some cases).
Last week the Tampa Bay Times published a database of “102 Zombie Politicians,” shining light on this breach of public trust. Sadly, three prominent Colorado politicians were engaged in this abuse.
Former U.S. Senator Ken Salazar left office in January 2009 to take an Obama Administration cabinet position, but Salazar for Senate kept spending money on things like insurance, Iron Mountain document services, Colorado Democrat Party events, and consultants until March 29, 2016, seven years later.
What business does a campaign have paying thousands of dollars in insurance and consultant fees years after Salazar left office? Did the Colorado Democratic Party think it was a bit odd to be receiving checks from Salazar for Senate years after the man left the Senate?
Pat Schroeder left Congress in 1997, yet the Schroeder for Congress Committee was spreading cash around town until December 31, 2010. Her campaign expenses during the 13 years after leaving office were classified by the Tampa Bay Times as “political contributions/ties to the lobbying industry” and “accounting/compliance/tax prep.”
Ben Nighthorse Campbell left the Senate in January 2005, yet his campaign committee was burning through cash for another decade after that. A big ticket item on Campbell’s finance reports during his zombie period was classified by the Tampa Bay Times as “Payroll: to family,” to the tune of $186,000.
Let’s give a big round of applause to Salazar, Schroeder, and Campbell for continuing to erode the public trust in our great institutions years after leaving Congress. Disgusting.