Dem Congressman Pays Ex-Con, Wife With Campaign Funds

Retiring Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), who has in the past funneled campaign money to family members, paid thousands more from his campaign committee to his wife and ex-convict son, new filings reveal.

Rush’s campaign has dished out regular monthly $600 checks for “accounting services,” totaling $3,600, between April and September to his third wife Paulette Holloway Rush, a church minister. His campaign also paid his ex-convict son, Jeffrey Rush, $400 in September for “moving services,” Federal Election Commission records show.

Bobby Rush, a pastor in Chicago who announced his retirement from Congress in January, is no stranger to shelling out campaign funds to family members. He had previously given Jeffrey Rush roughly $45,000 since 2019 for mostly “field services” and “field operations services,” which are typically campaign duties like door knocking, the Daily Caller reported in June. Paulette Rush also earned around $11,000 between June 2021 and March 2022, filings previously reported on by the Daily Caller show.

Paying family members with campaign funds is not illegal but typically frowned upon by ethics and campaign finance experts.

“Candidates and officeholders paying spouses for campaign work is legal, but a judgment call — it’s as obvious bait for bad press as taking a candidate salary, but candidates still do it,” Dan Backer, a campaign finance lawyer, told the Washington Examiner.

Family members can be paid with campaign funds if they are “providing a bona fide service to the campaign” and if the payment is a reflection of “fair market value,” according to the FEC. It’s typically difficult for the FEC to prove certain payments are not fair market, said Backer, noting that often family members are preferable financial recipients for certain duties since candidates trust them.

It remains unclear what specific accounting services Paulette Rush had performed for the congressman — whose campaign did not respond to a request for comment. It is also unclear what Jeffrey Rush’s work entailed and why he was being paid for moving.

In 2008, the younger Rush was sentenced to six months in prison for having sex with female inmates at the same time he was the head of security at an Illinois correctional facility. Three years later, the congressman’s son was arrested on a warrant that said he was violating his probation in relation to the prior sexual conviction, Herald & Review reported.

Bobby Rush was outed for paying four family members more than $100,000 during the 2016 election cycle. The recipients of these payments were Jeffrey Rush, his mother Cora Rush, his brother Marlon Rush, and his then-wife Carolyn Rush, who died in 2017, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

Since 2002, Bobby Rush’s campaign cut regular “consulting services” checks to Carolyn Rush and also paid his sister Judy Rush for receptionist and office management work and his brother’s son Flynn Rush for petition and polling drive services. The campaign also gave $190,000 to a church Bobby Rush founded, according to the Free Beacon.

Rush has served 15 terms in the House. The congressman is a former Black Panther Party leader and an ally of Rev. Jesse Jackson, whose son Jonathan Jackson is now running in Rush’s 1st Congressional District in Illinois to win his seat.

A Republican has not represented the district, which includes much of the South Side area of Chicago, since 1932.

Original Article: Retiring Democratic congressman shells out more in campaign funds to wife, ex-convict son | Washington Examiner

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