After being kicked off the House Intelligence Committee because he’d had an affair with Chinese spy “Fang Fang,” Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) must account for yet another skeleton in his closet.
During the 2022 election cycle, Swalwell spent more campaign dollars on luxury expenses than Nancy Pelosi. The campaign of California Congressman Eric Swalwell reportedly spent nearly $583,000 on travel expenses, using donated funds to pay for everything from limousines to flights, yachts and luxurious hotels.
According to Federal Election Commission (FEC) records, Swalwell’s campaign spent more than $370,000 on private jet services, with another $49,000 on luxury car rentals. The campaign also spent more than $60,000 on hotel accommodations and $33,000 on yacht rentals.
Hey @ericswalwell, care to explain why you're spending hundreds of thousands of dollars of campaign cash on limos, yachts, luxury hotels, and other luxury travel expenses? https://t.co/T5S2Dz3P2f
— Dan K. Eberhart (@DanKEberhart) February 20, 2023
As if the luxury cars, private jets and yachts weren’t enough, Swalwell reportedly used campaign funds to cover $131,000 in childcare expenses, including a $2,142 charge at a Let Mommy Sleep location in Maryland, which provides overnight postpartum care for newborns.
The extravagant travel expenses are a gross misuse of campaign funds, particularly given that Swalwell easily won his re-election bid in California’s 15th Congressional District.
The use of campaign funds for personal travel has been scrutinized recently, with lawmakers facing increasing pressure to justify their spending decisions. While the FEC allows for some personal use of campaign funds, there are strict guidelines governing such expenses, and lawmakers are expected to provide detailed justifications for any expenditures.
Swalwell’s campaign has defended the travel expenses, arguing that they were necessary to reach voters in the vast and diverse district. The campaign also noted that FEC filings fully disclosed the expenses and complied with all relevant regulations. But while many Americans faced soaring inflation and high gas prices Swalwell enjoyed a lavish lifestyle. Jet-setting his way into California’s 14th congressional district seat.
The use of campaign funds for travel and other expenses is likely to remain controversial in the years ahead, particularly as lawmakers come under increasing scrutiny for their spending habits. As the debate continues, it is clear that there is a need for greater transparency and accountability to ensure that donations are being used appropriately and effectively.