James appears to have illegally used his federal campaign fundraising account for personal expenses including luxury hotels and cross country travel
LANSING — Today, the Michigan Democratic Party filed a Federal Election Commission (FEC) complaint following John James’ use of his failed Senate campaign account as a personal slush fund before becoming a candidate again.
Here are the facts:
- John James is a back-to-back failed candidate who lost his second campaign for Senate on November 3, 2020, and, after weeks of baselessly casting doubt on the results of the election, conceded on November 24, 2022. James announced his run for Michigan’s 10th Congressional District on January 31, 2022.
- In the 14-month period when James was not running for office, James used thousands of dollars of leftover campaign funds for what appears to be personal use. According to James’ self-reported campaign finance filings, he spent thousands on chauffeur services, luxury hotels, airfare, inflight wi-fi, and more throughout the course of 2021.
- James took what appear to be personal trips in April 2021 to Amelia Island, Florida, in June 2021 to Charleston, South Carolina, and in September 2021 to Chicago, Illinois, spending hundreds of dollars on bar tabs and meals and thousands more on luxury hotels and car services.
- Federal law prohibits former candidates from using surplus campaign funds for personal use. In the period from November 4, 2020, to January 31, 2022, when James was not a candidate, he appears to have used his campaign account as a personal piggy bank.
MDP is calling on the FEC to immediately investigate James’ apparent illegal use of campaign donations as a personal slush fund. In his previous campaigns, James has come under scrutiny for his ethical conduct including multiple charges of appearing to illegally coordinate with outside dark money groups.
“John James keeps running failed campaigns despite being repeatedly rejected by Michiganders, and now we know at least one reason why – he thinks he can use his campaign donations as a personal piggy bank for vacations and travel,” said MDP Chair Lavora Barnes. “If this is how James spends his campaign contributions, we can only imagine how he’d spend taxpayer dollars. James is not above the law, plain and simple, and the FEC should investigate this improper spending immediately.”