The Daily Pilot reports that Huntington Beach Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher is one of the members of Congress who personally benefits — financially — by holding his office beyond his Congressional salary through extended benefits to family members.
From the story:
“Family Affair,” the report by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, D.C., reviewed every sitting member of the House of Representatives through the 2008 and 2010 elections. Rohrabacher, who lives in Costa Mesa, was among 248 politicians profiled and one of 25 from California.
The group, known as CREW, noted that the congressman got more than $60,000 in reimbursements from his campaign committee during the last two election cycles, while his wife received nearly $200,000 in salary and reimbursements during the same time.
Rohrabacher, a 12-term member who represents the 46th Congressional District and chairs the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, confirmed the figures but said they hardly qualified as news.
“This is maybe the 20th time I’ve commented, because every other year, the same thing comes up,” he said. “Half the members of Congress aren’t rich, and the ones who aren’t rich have to work.”
According to the report, the Committee to Re-elect Congressman Dana Rohrabacher paid the representative’s wife, Rhonda Rohrabacher, $74,425 in 2008 and $85,810 in 2010.
The committee also reimbursed Dana Rohrabacher $63,926 for telephone bills, fundraising, postage, furniture rental and other expenses, in addition to reimbursing his wife $8,144 for office supplies, fundraising and snacks.
In a news release the group called Rohrabacher’s methods “egregious” and stated that he had “abused his position.”
“Running for public office has become quite lucrative for the Rohrabacher family,” CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said in the news release. “I wonder how tough the interview process was when Ms. Rohrabacher first applied for the job. Conduct like this reinforces the widely held view that members of Congress are more interested in enriching themselves and their family members than in public service.”
Rohrabacher’s wife Rhonda, the mother of his triplets, pleaded guilty in 1997 to two felony counts regarding election schemes. From the story: “Carmony, 27, the wife of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach), was sentenced to three years of probation and 300 hours of community service and was fined $2,800. Carmony, who is her husband’s campaign manager, also pledged not to contact voters or engage in other electoral activities unless it is on behalf of Rohrabacher.
Carmony helped recruit and place on the ballot a decoy candidate to split the Democratic vote and ensure the election of Baugh, a Rohrabacher protege, to the Assembly in 1995, according to testimony in her June trial. It ended in a hung jury.
She was charged with conspiracy and fraudulently filing and making nomination papers on behalf of Laurie Campbell, the decoy candidate. The conspiracy count was dismissed, but she pleaded guilty to the two other charges.
“It was time to put an end to this,” Carmony said in a statement that attacked Orange County Dist. Atty. Michael Capizzi for spending “millions of dollars to gain a guilty plea to misdemeanor violations of collecting one signature improperly on a single nomination petition.”
It is the second time in five weeks that Carmony has pleaded guilty in an election fraud case. In the previous instance, she pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor and was fined $13,500 for failing to file campaign finance reports in 1992 for a committee that paid for a mailer attacking a Diamond Bar council candidate.
Capizzi, also a Republican, rejected charges from Carmony and Rohrabacher that the district attorney’s office had wasted taxpayers’ money in pressing the prosecution. Capizzi criticized Carmony for trying to minimize her role in the Campbell affair and the Diamond Bar case.
“She has pleaded guilty to a serious crime that constitutes a serious fraud, not only on the other candidates in that race, but on the voters,” Capizzi said. “Both these cases were attempts to defraud the voters and the public, and in both instances, she indicated she willfully and unlawfully violated the law. And then she goes out and tries to backpedal from that. Is this a fraud on the court?”
OC Weekly’s R. Scott Moxley’s reporting no doubt served as a basis for the Watrchdog group’s report. From his October 2011 piece. Costa Mesa Congressman Dana Rohrabacher gave his wife more than 50 percent of the campaign contributions he raised mostly from corporate sources during July, August and September, according to recently filed records at the Federal Election Commission (FEC) in Washington.
The Committee to Re-Elect Congressman Dana Rohrabacher reported raising $21,925 during the three-month period and then paying Rhonda Rohrabacher $11,026. Though Rohrabacher’s Democratic Party challenger, Jay Shah, has more than two dozen spelling, typo and grammar errors on his campaign homepage along with zero contributions, the 12-term congressman from a historically solid Republican district pays his wife about $4,000 a month under the ruse that he needs a full-time campaign manager.
Since 2006, Rhonda has collected more than a quarter of a million dollars from her husband’s campaign coffers, according to FEC records.
(Many of the contributions, er, income came from corporate entities–especially defense and space-exploration companies–that financially benefit from Rohrabacher’s D.C. maneuverings.)
During that same period–and while most of the rest of the nation suffered economically, Dana gave his wife a whopping 40 percent in raises.