President of the Center for Governmental Studies Robert Stern called for more restrictions in a story written by Rebecca Kimitch that shows Sen. Gil Cedillo’s staffers have used a loophole in campaign finance laws that allows Cedillo to buy gifts with campaign donations.
Cedillo is running for the 32nd Congressional seat.
From the story:
Cedillo and key members of his legislative staff annually exchange gifts during the holidays, staff members have said. But while the staff members pay for their gifts to the state senator themselves, Cedillo uses contributions from donors to buy his staff members’ gifts.
According to public records, Cedillo has spent nearly $15,000 of campaign contributions over the past six years at Banana Republic, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Ann Taylor and a handful of other high-end retail stores.
Cedillo said all of the purchases were gifts for his legislative and political staff, as well as other lawmakers.
Daniel Savage, Cedillo’s chief of staff, said he has regularly received gifts from Cedillo – a shirt and tie every year for Christmas. Savage, who has known Cedillo for decades, said he reciprocates with the same.
“(Cedillo) is using his campaign funds as a supplement to his income,” said Robert Stern, president of the nonprofit Center for Governmental Studies and former general counsel for the Fair Political Practices Commission. “When I give gifts, exchange gifts, it’s out of my own pocket… The staffer has to use personal funds for his gift to (Cedillo).”