Watchdog groups: Tom Price illegally used campaign funds to bolster Cabinet bid

WASHINGTON -- A pair of campaign finance watchdogs alleged Friday that Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price illegally used money he raised for his congressional campaign to bolster his Cabinet bid.

A complaint the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 filed with the Federal Election Commission argues that Price donated $40,000 in campaign funds to America Rising. The opposition research group then "promoted research and videos promoting Price’s confirmation," the groups allege.

“Price’s use of his campaign funds appears to have violated the law prohibiting the personal use of campaign funds, and the FEC should take appropriate action," Democracy 21 Counsel Donald Simon said.

In a letter to the FEC, the watchdogs said Price's campaign committee donated the money to America Rising on January 26, two days after the then-nominee's second Senate confirmation hearing, a grilling that had its share of contentious moments.

"On or around the date that Price for Congress reported its $40,000 payment to America Rising Corp., America Rising Squared began promoting research and videos supporting Price’s confirmation as Secretary of Health and Human Services," the complaint alleges.

Price was sworn in as health chief in February after representing Georgia's 6th District in the U.S. House for 12 years.

Spokesmen for Price and America Rising did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Several members of Congress have resigned in recent years following scandals related to their use of campaign and official House and Senate funds, including Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr, D-Ill., and Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho.

This is not the first time Price's finances have been in the spotlight. Senate Democrats during his confirmation hearings focused heavily on stock trades he made as a member of Congress.

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman
Tamar Hallerman
Tamar Hallerman is a senior reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's enterprise team, where she covers women in society, LGBTQ issues, the urban-rural...