Powerful U.S. majority whip Jim Clyburn has been busted doling out hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds to members of his family – the latest example of influential politicians taking care of their own as they screw over American taxpayers.
Clyburn has paid five family members – including two of his daughters, their husbands and one of his grandchildren – more than $200,000 from his campaign account.
News of Clyburn’s shady campaign finance moves were first reported by Cameron Cawthorne and Joe Schoffstall of Fox News. As of this writing, no South Carolina mainstream media outlets have picked up the story. Apparently they are too busy covering other Clyburn-related “news” (here and here).
According to Cawthorne and Schoffstall, Clyburn’s daughter Jennifer Clyburn Reed was paid $45,000 between July and December 2020 ($7,500 a month) as a “campaign management fee.”
Clyburn has also paid out $62,500 in rent payments to a company which lists her husband, Walter Reed, as its registered agent.
Another one of Clyburn’s daughters, Angela Hannibal, was paid approximately $20,000 between April 2018 and October 2019 for a variety of campaign services. Her husband, Cecil Hannibal, has been paid more than $70,000 from the campaign for “district outreach and travel reimbursements,” according to Cawthorne and Schoffstall.
Reed, longtime readers of this news outlet will recall, is the congressman’s self-anointed familial heir for the Palmetto State’s heavily gerrymandered sixth congressional district – a seat he has held (and consistently redrawn) since it was first created as a ‘majority minority’ district back in 1993.
As I reported in 2019, Clyburn has played a huge role in keeping South Carolina’s congressional districts anti-competitive … although not unlike his family campaign finance funneling, the mainstream media continues to give him a hall pass on this front. In fact, they unquestioningly publish his propaganda on the subject …
“If I had drawn the lines, my district would not be 58 percent black, and Joe Wilson, with whom I share Columbia and Richland County, would not have a district that is 68 percent white,” Clyburn wrote in a letter to the editor of The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper two years ago.
The problem? Clyburn did draw the lines.
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Clyburn exerts enormous influence in Washington, D.C. owing to the pivotal role he played in ensuring Joe Biden’s ascension to the Democratic presidential nomination two years ago.
Clyburn, readers will recall, provided crucial support to then-candidate Biden as the latter used a resounding win in the 2020 “First in the South” Democratic presidential primary to revive his moribund candidacy and propel him to the White House.
Biden has repaid Clyburn by appointing his daughter as co-chair of the Southeast Crescent Regional Commission – a government panel “established in 2008 to make direct federal investment in the Southeastern United States to have an impact on systemic, persistent poverty in the region.”
The president did not heed Clyburn, though, when he chose to bypass the congressman’s favored judge (J. Michelle Childs) for a seat on the U.S. supreme court earlier this year. Nor did he follow Clyburn’s guidance in tapping a new U.S. attorney for the Palmetto State.
In light of these recent setbacks, Clyburn is reportedly pushing hard to have DeAndrea Benjamin – wife of former Columbia, S.C. mayor Steve Benjamin – installed as a judge on the U.S. fourth circuit court of appeals. And as I noted in a recent report, Benjamin has hosted an event to fill … you guessed it … Clyburn’s campaign coffers.
To be clear: I don’t get especially exercised about campaign finance scandals. Unless, of course, it is a brazen attempt to purchase influence. Ultimately, candidates are accountable only to their donors when it comes to how they spend their money. And again, thanks to Clyburn’s persistent manipulation of congressional boundaries in South Carolina, it’s not like anyone is going to credibly challenge him for this seat anyway.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina and before that he was a bass player and a dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children. And yes, he has LOTS of hats (but he gave them up for Lent this year).
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