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house Bill H.R. 3686

Should Candidates for Federal Office be Prohibited From Spending Campaign Funds at Businesses They & Their Immediate Family Own?

Argument in favor

Candidates for federal office shouldn’t be allowed to use their pursuit of public office to enrich themselves. Using donor money at one’s own businesses is a form of self-dealing that shouldn’t be allowed.

burrkitty's Opinion
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07/27/2019
Self dealing is corruption. While we are at it stop it from former employees as well. The lobbyists that flit back and forth from government to industry at higher and higher pay by promoting their corporate owners in no-bid government contracts has got to stop too.
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jimK's Opinion
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07/27/2019
Campaign contributions should never be spent for anything that profits the candidate, his business partners or his family. This should fall under ethics/emoluments violations. Funds collected to support a campaign are intended for that support and nothing else. This would be a small step toward controlling the ‘swamp’.
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Jackie's Opinion
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07/27/2019
Profiting from a run for public office is ethically challenged at a minimum...
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Argument opposed

As long as candidates are careful to pay fair market value for business services, they shouldn’t be prohibited from using any business’ services even if they happen to own a stake in it.

Mark's Opinion
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07/27/2019
Note to HR 839, HR 840, HR 1636 and corresponding amendments. Why opposed? These are craftily written bills that would apply only to the president, vice president and cabinet members. Near zero accountability for members of Congress or other government officials below the cabinet level. Just another attempt to smear President Trump. Not surprising since this bill was written by an America hating Socialist Democrat.
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SneakyPete's Opinion
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07/27/2019
Let Me Guess,This Has To Be A California Democratic Bill I stand opposed to this ill written political Democratic House Bill whose sole intent is directed against President Trump or am I wrong? I think not. As long as candidates are careful to pay fair market value for business services, they shouldn’t be prohibited from using any business’ services even if they happen to own a stake in it. SneakyPete.......... 7.27.19.......
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David's Opinion
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07/28/2019
Spend your money how you want. If the voters disapprove of it, vote the person out of office next time. Why does the Federal Gov’t think they should micromanage everyone’s behavior? Because they have done away with the foundation of this nation: the Christian religion and it’s morality!
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Administration
    IntroducedJuly 10th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 3686?

This bill — the Campaign Spending Integrity Act — would prohibit candidates from federal office from spending campaign funds at businesses owned by themselves or their immediate family members. This would apply to candidates for president, vice president, and Congress.

Impact

Candidates for federal office; candidates for Congress; candidates for vice president; candidates for president; and campaign spending.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 3686

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to prohibit candidates for federal office from spending campaign funds at businesses they or their immediate family members own or control. When he introduced this bill as part of a three-bill package, the Ruiz Ethics Package, last Congress, Rep. Ruiz said

“People shouldn’t be allowed to line their pockets when they're in public service or running for office. I was deeply troubled that President Trump paid his own businesses over $8 million in campaign funds, and I'm troubled by the idea that any public servant can use tax dollars to increase their own profits. The public should feel confident that politicians are elected to serve the people, not get rich. My ethics package helps prevent any elected official, regardless of party, from abusing their authority for personal gain.”

The two other bills in the Ruiz Ethics Package last Congress were: 

  • Public Service Spending Integrity Act (H.R. 839), which would have prohibited federal dollars (including federal contracts) from being spent on businesses owned or controlled by the President, Vice President, cabinet members and their immediate family members and prohibit Congresspeople from using their personal office funds on businesses owned or controlled by themselves or their immediate family members; and 
  • Public Service Transparency Act (H.R. 840), which would have required candidates for President or Vice President, as well as cabinet nominees, to release their tax returns during their candidacies and while in office.

In the current Congress, the Public Service Spending Integrity (H.R. 1626) passed the House as an amendment to H.R. 1, the For the People Act. After H.R. 1’s passage, Rep. Ruiz said

“No President or Cabinet members, Republican or Democrat, now or in the future, should spend taxpayer dollars on their own businesses to enrich themselves or their family. Working for the government should be about serving the people, not self-service. I am proud to have secured passage of my bill, the Public Service Spending Integrity Act as a part of H.R. 1, the For the People Act, a bill that keeps our promise to help clean up corruption, protect Americans' fundamental right to vote, and make government work for the people!"

Assessing this bill’s odds of passage in August 2017, the Center for Public Integrity’s Sarah Kleiner said it, along with a raft of other money-in-politics bills proposed by Democrats in the 115th Congress, had “little chance of passing.”

This bill doesn’t have any cosponsors in the 116th Congress. Last Congress, it had six Democratic cosponsors and didn’t receive a committee vote.


In Depth:  In April 2019, financial disclosures from the 2020 presidential candidates revealed that President Trump’s re-election campaign had spent $168,333 at Trump-branded enterprises in the first quarter of 2019. According to its filing with the FEC, the campaign spent $137,025 on rent at buildings such as Trump Tower, paid $25,436 to the Trump Corporation for “legal & IT consulting” and spent $5,289 for lodging at Trump hotels and $584 at the Trump Grill. 

Anna Massoglia, a researcher at the Center for Responsive Politics, told MarketWatch that while campaigns typically spend on hotels, food and lawyers who handle compliance matters, these expenditures “raise more attention” because the candidate’s name is attached to the recipients. She added that Trump enterprises have received campaign money in recent years as well, and said that the links between Trump’s spending and his business interests is at a larger scale than has been observed in the past. Other critics of the Trump re-election campaign’s spending have called them unfair to donors or an example of grift.

A senior Trump campaign official defended the Trump re-election campaign’s spending, saying that the campaign paid fair market value under negotiated agreements and works closely with its lawyers to ensure strict compliance with the law. 

According to a tracker by the Center for Responsive Politics, total payments from the Trump political operation to Trump-related properties and businesses are about $18.7 million as of July 26, 2019.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / NoDerog)

AKA

Campaign Spending Integrity Act

Official Title

To amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to prohibit a candidate for election for Federal office from using amounts contributed to the candidate's campaign to make payments to vendors owned or controlled by the candidate or by an immediate family member of the candidate.

    Self dealing is corruption. While we are at it stop it from former employees as well. The lobbyists that flit back and forth from government to industry at higher and higher pay by promoting their corporate owners in no-bid government contracts has got to stop too.
    Like (140)
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    Note to HR 839, HR 840, HR 1636 and corresponding amendments. Why opposed? These are craftily written bills that would apply only to the president, vice president and cabinet members. Near zero accountability for members of Congress or other government officials below the cabinet level. Just another attempt to smear President Trump. Not surprising since this bill was written by an America hating Socialist Democrat.
    Like (34)
    Follow
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    Campaign contributions should never be spent for anything that profits the candidate, his business partners or his family. This should fall under ethics/emoluments violations. Funds collected to support a campaign are intended for that support and nothing else. This would be a small step toward controlling the ‘swamp’.
    Like (101)
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    Profiting from a run for public office is ethically challenged at a minimum...
    Like (61)
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    Would’ve thought this was already covered by things like the emoluments clause, but obviously we need to use really small words so the republicans can understand them.
    Like (48)
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    We do need to end nepotism and conflicts of interest in political campaigns.
    Like (40)
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    Yes. Stop the corrupt self dealing! $
    Like (31)
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    A BIG Y E S to this.... as in the Federal Presidential Emoluments Clause of the US Constitution, e.g. can you say “ Trump” ?
    Like (25)
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    That goes without saying. But his grotesqueness feels he is above the emoluments clause.
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    The fact that this wasn’t already law makes it fairly clear that corruption has been widespread for a very long time. It’s about time we clean house, and mandating that candidates of all levels can only use their campaign funds on their actual campaigns is a good start.
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    Why do we even need to say this????
    Like (17)
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    Sounds like a transparency plan!
    Like (15)
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    If people running for office want to be above reproach, they need to keep campaign money they spend out of any business they or relatives own. DUH!!
    Like (13)
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    Absolutely. Conflicts of interest should be avoided 100% of time. These dirty corrupt Republicans with their failing businesses, because their scheming and poor ideas often fail, The they run for office, so they can funnel millions into their failing business and call it success.
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    The people are giving their candidates money in order to run for office, not to better their own personal/private lives.
    Like (11)
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    Yes HR 3686 Support Raul Ruiz Self dealing is wrong! Swampy Trump Brand grifters have taken over 18 million by July 2019 to enrich themselves! Very Big Trump brand Scam better believe it loyalists
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    Duh, only someone corrupt and delusional would think it is acceptable to spend campaign contributions on anything that even remotely appears to enrich them, their family or their friends. Just like tRump the felon and conman temporarily residing in the White House.
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    Politics was never designed to be a place to get rich. Obviously many politicians have decided to see a way to pervert this
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    That is using campaign funds to enrich yourself. Illegal & IMMORAL. Another thing Trump has done & the Republicans are complicit in allowing him to continue to break the law.
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    Emoluments, plain and simple. No siphoning of donor $ to personal coffers.
    Like (9)
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