Damning OCE report accuses Mississippi GOP lawmaker of using campaign money as his 'personal slush fund'

Damning OCE report accuses Mississippi GOP lawmaker of using campaign money as his 'personal slush fund'
US House of Representatives / Wikimedia Commons

A Mississippi Republican lawmaker is at the center of controversy as the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) raises questions about his use of campaign and congressional funds.

According to The Washington Post, a 47-page report includes substantial evidence that Rep. Steven M. Palazzo (R-Miss.) misused funds. Th report also says the Mississippi lawmaker "may have performed official actions to assist his brother." The alleged offense serves as a "potential violation of House rules and federal law."

The publication reports that a March 2020 complaint lodged by the Campaign Legal Center ultimately led to the investigation. In the complaint, Palazzo was accused of misusing his campaign's contributions for his "personal slush fund." Palazzo is said to have shelled out nearly "'himself and his spouse nearly $200,000,' including $60,000 in rent to his own farm."

In the report, OCE noted that there was "limited evidence of campaign use of the property, especially to justify $60,000.00 in rent and thousands of dollars of additional charges to maintain the home and improve its marketability."

The OCE also speculates that Palazzo "may have asked official staffers to perform campaign work and personal errands during the congressional workday."

"And finally," the report states, "the OCE found evidence that Rep. Palazzo may have used his official position and congressional resources to contact the Assistant Secretary of the Navy in order to assist his brother's efforts to reenlist in the military." A former staffer also noted that Kyle Palazzo "was separated from the Navy for affecting a fraudulent enlistment."

While Palazzo's office has not yet responded to The Washington Post's latest request for comment, the lawmaker's attorney, Gregg Harper, previously dismissed the allegations against his client. That letter was made public on Monday, March 1.

"The OCE tries to paint a narrative of financial desperation which is patently false, as evidenced by the fact that [Palazzo] did not accept rent payments until he was three and a half months into the lease," Harper wrote in the letter. "Any expenses paid by the campaign were authorized under the terms of the lease and were reasonable and necessary."

"

#story_page_post_article

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.