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Congressman Reyes Named In Watchdog Report

A report titled, “Family Affair,” is making the rounds this week. In it, the Citizens for Reponsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog group also known as CREW, takes a look at Congressional members and how they pay, or reimburse, family members money through congressional offices, campaign committees, and Political Action Committees (PACs).

Congressman Silvestre Reyes, a representative of the El Paso district, is not only featured among dozens of other Congressmen, but is discussed in great detail in the overview.

The report claims that Representative Reyes has paid, or reimbursed, roughly $600 thousand to himself or family members over the past two election cycles.

CREW admits the practices used by Reyes, and a slew of other Congressmen falls within federal guidelines, but questions the legitimacy of a culture where politicians line the pockets of family members. Chuy Reyes, Silvestre Reye’s campaign manager and brother, says there is nothing wrong with the practice. He explains the involvement of family as common sense, and says the whole family has backed his brother since he became the head of their household many years ago.

“We’ve done nothing wrong, for 15 years we’ve supported the Congressman there is nothing illegal or unethical with what we’ve done,” said Chuy Reyes.

Chuy Reyes is one of four family members listed in the CREW report that has received money from the Reyes’ campaign or one of his PACs. Of the roughly $3,000, Chuy says the money was reimbursements from his payments to people he hired to pass out flyers, put of campaign signs, and other fundraising efforts. He also cites one occasion where his brother donated door prizes for a work event where he is a manager at the El Paso Water Irrigation District.

The largest amount of money for a family member tied to Reyes, however, is Chuy’s daughter Veronica Cintron. Over the past two election cycles she has been paid, or reimbursed, more than $318 thousand. Numerous calls to Cintron were not returned in relation to this story. The report shows, roughly half of that money comes as payments for campaigning, but Representative Reyes was quick to point out that her payments come as the only full-time employee of his fundraising staff.

“My campaign is also fortunate enough to be able to employ one person, Veronica Cintron, my niece who works full-time and round-the-clock helping me run my campaign,” said Silvestre Reyes. “She is incredibly talented and one of the few Latinas in Congressional campaign management at the national level.”

As for the reports claim that he has reimbursed himself more money than any other sitting Congressman, Reyes didn’t comment in a written statement. Instead he explained that nothing pointed out in the report is illegal.

“With regards to any disbursements, my campaign follows all federal election laws and as a former law enforcement officer and Vietnam veteran, I take transparency and accountability seriously. While personal attacks on my family might be part of my opponent’s strategy, I see my family as an asset and a positive. I wouldn’t be where I am today without their support.”

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