Who is Sean Patrick Maloney? NY Democratic lawmaker spent $30k on travel while asking others to stay home
Since 2012, Maloney's campaign has spent almost $130,000 on car-related expenses, as per financial disclosures
New York Democratic Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, which is also the chair of the Democratic Congressional campaign Committee (DCCC), has come under the scanner for spending a lot of money for traveling while asking others to stay indoors to avoid contracting Covid-19. According to a report from The Washington Free Beacon, the lawmaker suspended an in-person campaign and asked his constituents to stay home to fight the pandemic but spent at the same time tens of thousands to travel across the state.
The 54-year-old Maloney, who was re-elected to the House in November 2020, stopped his campaign’s in-person signature-gathering run in March last year and appealed to his constituents to “stay home” and “stop spreading this virus”. But then over the next nine months, he spent nearly $29,000 on “ground transportation” and “automobile expenses”, financial records have shown, according to the Free Beacon report. The disbursements included almost $20,000 in lease and insurance payments, more than $3,600 in collision repairs, around $2,000 in gas, more than $2,100 in car rents and around $500 for a satellite radio subscription.
In light of coronavirus and out of concern for the safety and wellbeing of folks across the Hudson Valley, my campaign has suspended the collection of petition signatures.— Sean Patrick Maloney (@spmaloney) March 13, 2020
Stay safe and healthy.
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Antonio Delgado, Maloney’s Democratic counterpart from the adjacent 19th district, which is much bigger than his 18th, however, did not disclose any expenses related to vehicles in 2020. Under America’s campaign finance law, candidates are not allowed to use donor funds to pay for personal transportation.
Ethics experts suspected Maloney’s expenditures. According to the Free Beacon report, Kendra Arnold, executive director of Portland-based Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust said Maloney has to give an explanation on the payments which according to her raised “red flags”.
“Without having any in-person campaigning, you wouldn’t expect there to be a lot of expenses,” she told Free Beacon. “Candidates don’t have to link [disbursements] to a specific corresponding event, so of course anything could be made up. We generally look for spending that isn’t in the realm of a candidate in the same state or in a similar-sized district.”
Leaders of the opponent GOP have also been accused of making similar expenses. Accountable.US sought an investigation into Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert in February over expenses made on campaign mileage. While Boebert spent more than Maloney on gas, she did not use campaign funds to meet expenses for car leases, rentals, repairs, insurance, etc.
Controversies not new for Maloney
Controversy over big vehicle-related expenses is not new for Maloney. Since 2012, his campaign has spent almost $130,000 on car-related expenses, as per financial disclosures. Many of the payments even came in non-election years as the Democrat officially participated in town halls and they were of his own.
Maloney has also faced lawsuits and Federal Election Commission complaints for alleged ethics violations. After former New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman stepped down in 2018 over allegations of physically abusing a number of women, Maloney, who was still running for getting re-elected to the House, launched a bid to replace the former. He was sued by NY progressive colleague Zephyr Teachout for moving millions in federal funds to his state campaign account.
The Democrat, who was born in Canada but raised in New Hampshire, has also had a tumultuous tenure as the chair of the DCCC. Last month, he failed to report thousands of dollars in stock trades within the required time limit of 30-45 days. He also came under the GOP’s attacks after his campaign reportedly helped fellow NY Congress member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to funnel $5,000 donations to a number of House Democrats who found themselves on shaky grounds.
Maloney, one among six siblings and studied in a number of universities before graduating with a Juris Doctor in 1992, served as the White House staff secretary in the Bill Clinton presidency between 1999 and 2000. He worked in the private sector for 12 years before returning to the political arena to become a lawmaker. He became the DCCC chair in January.
He is married to Randy Florke for seven years and they have three children.