October 1, 2021 | Number of The Day
Percentage of NJ Rep. Josh Gottheimer’s leadership PAC spent on politics

The intended purpose behind leadership PACs is that they be used to assist other candidates, political groups or a politician’s own party. But new research from Issue One and the Campaign Legal Center reveals that Rep. Josh Gottheimer only spent 17% of his leadership PAC on political causes. All told, Gottheimer spent roughly $590,000 between January 2019 and December 2020, the period covered by the report. A spokesperson for Gottheimer’s campaign said, “Josh and the Jersey Values PAC team raised and contributed more than $3.3 million to Democratic candidates in New Jersey and nationwide during the last campaign cycle, helping elect and re-elect scores of Democrats.”

Gottheimer isn’t alone. Issue One reports that 120 members of Congress spent less than 50% of their leadership PACs on politics — roughly one in five U.S. representatives.

What’s more, 43 members of Congress spent less than 25% on politics during the two-year period. And a handful shelled out at least five figures without ever contributing a penny to any local, state or federal candidates, parties or political groups.

Most of that money went to “lavish living … beyond the rest of most Americans, including meals at fancy restaurants, trips to elite resorts, rounds of golf at premier courses and more,” according to Issue One. That translates into $2 million on hotels and resorts; $950,000 on airfare; $220,000 on sporting events and concerts; $190,000 on ski resorts; $150,000 on “steakhouses”; $130,000 on golf courses and country clubs; and $72,000 on Ubers and Lyfts.

Members of Congress who weren’t living large typically spent 70% of their leadership PACs on politics between January 2019 and December 2020.

Editor’s Note: This has been updated to include a comment from Gottheimer’s campaign.

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