Rep. Steven Palazzo has spent about $230,000 from his campaign fund since 2010 on car expenses, purchases associated with home upkeep, reimbursements to himself, payments to his brother and other questionable costs, a CQ Roll Call review of Federal Election Commission reports found.
The Mississippi Republican acknowledged in November that he is the subject of an investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics into alleged improper use of campaign funds from his Palazzo for Congress campaign committee.
Federal law prohibits members of Congress from using campaign funds for personal use and if that public trust is proven to be violated, it can result in sanctions from the House Ethics Committee and, in more severe instances, prosecution by the Department of Justice. Former California Rep. Duncan Hunter is headed to prison in 2021 for converting campaign funds to personal use.
In March, the Campaign Legal Center, a non-partisan watchdog group, filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics requesting an inquiry into Palazzo’s spending. The complaint focused on $60,000 in campaign expenditures to rent a farm, Greene Acres LLC, and $127,000 to pay an accounting firm Palazzo founded that is now run by his former wife.
Palazzo’s 2019 financial disclosure shows he sold the Greene Acres farm in rural Perkinston, Miss., on Aug. 30 of that year. Just days later — on Sept. 4 — he sold another investment property of his in the Mississippi city of D’Iberville.