The Campaign Spot

Barbara Boxer’s Bad Week, Part One of Five.

Sen. Barbara Boxer is going to have a bad week.

Californians are already wary about reelecting their state’s junior senator, one of the chamber’s most liberal Democrats. But this week, Campaign Spot will dust off some of the misdeeds and ethical troubles, the sense of entitlement, and aspects of Boxer’s record that will probably infuriate Golden State voters across the political spectrum.

You’re probably familiar with Rep. Maxine Waters, the California Democrat who’s under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for allegations that she used her position in Congress to ensure the U.S. Treasury Department would help out a bank where her husband was a stockholder and former director.

What you probably didn’t know is that Boxer has been sending large amounts of cash to Waters’s daughter for the past two cycles, and in exchange, Waters has been featuring Boxer prominently on her “slate mailer,” a sample ballot used by many voters in Waters’s South Central district.

In 2004, Boxer paid Rep. Waters’s daughter, Karen Waters, $25,000 to ensure her spot on the mailer; on June 2, Boxer’s campaign sent “Citizens for Waters” $5,000.

Back in December 2004, Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington told the Los Angeles Times, “It looks like congresswoman Waters is using her position to financially benefit her family members, and that is at the very least unethical. . . . You shouldn’t be making money off your mother’s endorsements.” Of course, by that point, Boxer and Waters had been reelected and it was too late for California voters to hold either accountable.

I suppose someone could argue that the Waters family is more morally culpable for this blatant auction of an endorsement. But when it comes to steering campaign funds to relatives, let’s just say Barbara Boxer isn’t one to throw stones. Stay tuned.


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