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A Closer Look: Campaign Funding For Congressional Candidates

Campaign finance reports, filed with the United States Federal Election Commission, show that U.S. Congressional candidate Beto O’Rourke has made numerous reimbursements to a company he’s part-owner of, Stanton Street Technology Company.

Texas Watchdog, a media group, reported that the O’Rourke campaign has spent $17,786 for web services and social media networking.

The practice of contracting services to a company you own is legal. Reimbursing family members for services contributed to a campaign is also legal, however, a report published in March by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) raised eyebrows over these sort of practices in March.

O’Rourke was vocal about the CREW report entitled “Family Value,” which said Reyes paid nearly $600,000 over the past two election cycles to members of his own family, saying he believed there was need for campaign finance reform. At the same time, O’Rourke’s website coined the phrase: “It’s not a campaign. It’s a lifestyle.”

O’Rourke faces his own questions, but tells ABC-7 he doesn’t see the similarities in the cases.

“We made sure Stanton Street charged us the going rate,” explained O’Rourke. “Believe me, I’d love to preserve campaign cash for ads, mailers and other things, but FEC law is very clear you must pay any vendor exactly what they would charge anybody else.”

O’Rourke contends everything he’s paid Stanton Street for was legal, and that records are available for anyone to view. His campaign, and the candidate himself, have been adamant that none of O’Rourke’s family members have made money off the campaign, but he’s made accusations that Reyes does just that. Telling ABC-7 that Reyes and his family have made a living off campaign funds.

Congressman Silvestre Reyes said his chief concern wasn’t O’Rourke’s campaign expenditures, but his stance on several topics that have come up along the campaign trail, but did expand on campaign funding saying, “I’m not surprised that Mr. O’Rourke has paid himself, his business, and his family members, and although I think voters will be turned off by the double standard and hypocrisy, I will not attack someone’s family for political gain.”

Reyes said campaigns are expensive, and that family members should be repaid as O’Rourke has done for his wife, his sister-in-law, and himself according to documents obtained by ABC-7, and his own admission.

O’Rourke’s said those family members, including himself, who’ve been reimbursed by his campaign have been documented for donating more money to the campaign than they’ve received.

Reyes has long stood by his campaign spending since the CREW article was published in March. Reyes has told ABC-7 in the past that his hiring of family members was a point of pride, and that all of his disbursements of campaign dollars have followed federal election laws.

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