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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

3/26/2014 (4 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Bought by his granddaughter, Senate Majority leader will reimburse campaign for $16,000

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) says he will reimburse his campaign more than $16,000. Questions had been posed about holiday gifts purchased from a company owned by his granddaughter.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) says he will reimburse his campaign more than $16,000. Questions had been posed about holiday gifts purchased from a company owned by his granddaughter.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) says he will reimburse his campaign more than $16,000. Questions had been posed about holiday gifts purchased from a company owned by his granddaughter.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/26/2014 (4 months ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Harry reid, gifts, reimbursements


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "I thought it would be nice to give supporters and staff thank-you gifts that had a personal connection and a Searchlight (Nev.) connection, but I have decided to reimburse the campaign for the amount of the expenditure," Reid said in a statement. He also said that he will refund the money, after the Federal Election Commission questioned him about the expense earlier this week.

The issue first gained attention brought to light when the FEC sent Reid's campaign a letter saying its description of the purchase - "holiday gifts" - doesn't meet the commission's criteria.

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Federal rules allow candidates to buy things from family members, provided they pay fair market value for the items. However in the case of the gifts, that value also matters. FEC rules state that such gifts must be of "nominal value."

The total amount that Reid's campaign spent on the gifts from his granddaughter's jewelry company, Ryan Elisabeth was $16,786. Reid's granddaughter is Ryan Elisabeth Reid.

Reid's campaign was asked by the Washington Times precisely what kind of gifts the money was used to purchase. The campaign has yet to respond to multiple inquiries.

Paul Ryan, an election lawyer at the Campaign Legal Center, said "you'd need to buy a heck of a lot of gifts of 'nominal' value to spend $16,000.

"I'd consider anything over $25 or $30 to be pushing the limits of 'nominal value,'" Ryan said.

Lawyers place that threshold higher as much as $50, but noted that some campaigns will buy lots of ornaments or other trinkets for supporters.

An anonymous source said that the gifts were "coasters, picture frames and other trinkets" valued around $50 each.

It's not the first time Reid's gifts have been at issue. The conservative group Citizens United in 2006 filed a complaint over thousands of dollars Reid had paid in holiday bonuses to employees of the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, where Reid lives.

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