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Watchdog Group Investigates Congressman Reyes

Some actions by Congressman Silvestre Reyes are raising eyebrows.

In a new watchdog report Reyes is listed as one of the top members of Congress who has recently used hundreds of thousands of dollars to allegedly pay or reimburse himself and family members, all through congressional offices, campaign committees or political action committees.

According to Congressman Reyes’ brother, Jesus, “Chuy” Reyes, Congressman Reyes’ finances are legal.

A 346-page behemoth of a report published this week by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, (CREW) questions if they are ethical.

Chuy isn’t just Silvestre’s brother, he’s also his campaign manager, an example of what raises eyebrows in the CREW report, titled “Family Affairs.”

Though legal, Congressman Reyes has paid nearly $600,000 over the past two election cycles to his own family.

Those payments come as reimbursements, salaries or other payments.

Congressman Reyes sent a message explaining he surrounds himself by family, because they’re hard workers.

“With regards to any disbursements, my campaign follows all federal election laws,” said Congressman Reyes.

Perhaps what drew the biggest question were payments to his niece (Chuy’s daughter), Veronica Cintron .

During the ’08 election cycle she was paid more than $85,000 for fundraising.

She was also reimbursed $52,000 for fundraising, and more than $90,000 for the 2010 election for fundraising, and reimbursed another $90,000 during that period as well.

Several calls to Cintron went unanswered, but Congressman Reyes explained that his niece is his only full-time campaign staffer.

Chuy said those payments are her salary, and reimbursements for money she spent on the campaign.

Congressman Reyes has allegedly reimbursed himself more money than anyone else in congress.

Also making the report was U.S. Rep. Francisco Canseco.

The report lists that he loaned his own campaign money, then charged it interest when he repaid himself, which according to CREW, is legal.

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