$192,000 for his wife. 81 uses of a lobbyist’s home. Crapo election funds draw scrutiny

By: Cynthia Sewell, Idaho Statesman, June 20, 2018

Lax campaign finance reporting and ongoing payments to family have prompted new scrutiny of Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo’s election funds.

In 9 of the past 11 years, Crapo’s elections staff failed to properly report certain campaign spending or donations — for an employee’s loan, an annual fundraising event and the use of a lobbyist’s Washington, D.C., townhouse, federal records show.

And over the past two decades, Crapo’s campaign has paid nearly $200,000 to his wife, Susan Crapo, for work that included creating gift bags for that yearly fundraiser. Her payments shrank during the last two years Sen. Crapo was actually up for election, 2015 and 2016. But she still worked then — in 2017, the campaign gave her a $17,311 lump sum that prompted questions from the Federal Election Commission.

The pattern, however, has drawn attention from a watchdog group — Campaign for Accountability, whose other recent targets include payday lenders, pregnancy crisis centers, rooftop solar providers, various Republican politicians and Google. It filed one round of complaints with the FEC about Crapo’s use of the townhouse, and on Thursday asked the Senate Ethics Committee to examine a disclosure issue involving the payments to Susan Crapo.

“Sen. Crapo, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, appears to be incapable of keeping track of his own campaign accounts,” said Daniel Stevens, the group’s executive director.

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