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Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., cannot use campaign funds to pay a babysitter when he travels out of state, the Federal Election Commission ruled Monday.
However, the FEC voted in favor of Swalwell using campaign funds to pay for overnight child care expenses when he travels for his campaign and his spouse is not available to care for their children.
Swalwell’s foreign ties have come under scrutiny since he was linked to a Chinese spy operation targeting him and other California politicians. According to a July 2021 report, Swalwell’s political operation was deeply infiltrated by Chinese spy Fang Fang, who raised money for his campaigns, allegedly had an affair with him, and fled the United States. His political operation has also become known for the large expenses for trips abroad.
The FEC vote came nearly two weeks after a tense FEC meeting in which Republican Commissioner James E. “Trey” Trainor III publicly derided Swalwell’s request as “disgusting.”
“To be really honest with you, I’m actually going to judge for him,” Trainor said during a July 14 commission meeting. “I think it’s despicable that Congressman Swalwell would have such a young child and want to leave them in someone else’s care for a week-long trip overseas and using donor contributions to pay for it. I think It is inappropriate that we even had to address this question.”
ERIC SWALWELL’S CAMPAIGN CONTINUES LUXURY SPENDING, INCLUDING ON FINE PARIS HOTELS AND RESTAURANTS
His comments drew a rebuke from Democratic FEC Commissioner Ellen Weintraub, who tweeted that she had “never seen a petitioner treated so disrespectfully by a member of this Commission.”
“This is the United States of America, not the Republic of Gilead,” Weintraub said, referring to “The Handmaid’s Tale.” “@FEC enforces the law. We do not ‘judge’ the personal lives of those who come before us seeking guidance.”
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In response to her tweet, Trainor responded: “I’ve never seen campaign donors treated with such disrespect! The Republic will persevere even if Swalwell doesn’t get all she wants. “
The FEC voted against Swalwell for using campaign funds to pay for child care during trips abroad by a 5-0 count.