Selling Endorsements for Campaign Cash

The Sunlight Foundation reports on Rep. Maxine Waters’ (D-CA) innovative approach to raising campaign funds: selling endorsements to other politicians.

The Los Angeles-area representative, who faces ethics charges in the House for intervening on behalf of a bank in which her husband had invested heavily, has found a way to take large sums of money from state and federal political committees that seemingly exceed FEC contribution limits, but are perfectly legal under the federal election law. The Waters campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

Waters, who has been in Congress for more than three decades, routinely sends out mailers endorsing a list of other candidates and ballot initiatives she supports. In the 2010 cycle, she has raised more than $295,550 out of a total of $497,300 through these mailers. And getting on one of her slate mailers doesn’t come cheap—to be featured on the “Citizens for Maxine Waters” slate, candidates pay anywhere between $250 and $45,000.

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