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Posted at 11:36 a.m. on Dec. 23, 2013
The seventeen Members of Congress who have announced their retirement from Congress have campaign accounts that hold over $13 million in campaign funds. Some of these funds may be donated to charities during this holiday season, some may not.
The largest campaign fund of the announced retirees belongs to Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., who President Obama has announced will be nominated to be the next ambassador to China. As of the close of the last reporting period on September 30, the Baucus campaign account had $3,280,948 cash on hand.
The Federal Election Commission regulation dealing with left-over funds states the funds may be used for any lawful purpose, but they can’t be converted to personal use. Some members donate the funds to non-profit organizations, charities, educational institutions, political parties, candidates (within permitted limits), or refund contributions to the original donors.
The member could also leave the funds in the account. Former Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., who did not seek re-election in 2010, and is now a partner at McGuireWoods LLP, still has $9.8 million in his campaign account. Former Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Mass., who resigned in July 2007, and is now the chancellor of the University of Massachusetts, has $4.6 million in his account.
Several announced retirees also have funds in their leadership PACs. Currently there is no prohibition on the use of leadership PAC left-over funds for personal use. Those with more than $25,000 cash on hand include: the PAC of Sen. Tim Johnson $227,721 as of 6/30; the PAC of Rep. Michele Bachmann $90,330 as of 6/30; the PAC of Sen. Saxby Chambliss $83,022 as of 11/5; the PAC of Rep. Michele Bachmann $90,330 as of 6/30; the PAC of Sen. Tom Harkin $27,518 as of 9/30.
Last week the Federal Election Commission agreed to recommend to Congress that the Federal Election Campaign Act’s prohibition of the personal use of campaign funds be extended to apply to all political committees, including leadership PACs.
See earlier posting on what has happened to other leftover funds.
To search detailed money-in-politics databases, visit Political MoneyLine.