Tuesday, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reimbursed his campaign for nearly $17,000 in payments made in late 2013 to his granddaughter for “holiday gifts.”
But new payments are surfacing bringing the total to $31,000.
One $9,064 payment in December 2012, on page 51 of in Reid’s Jan. 31, 2013 Federal Election Commission filing, was made to “Ryan Elisabeth,” a jewelry brand his granddaughter, Ryan Elisabeth Reid, uses.
Reid’s campaign described this payment as being for “gifts for supporters.”
Reid told the Las Vegas Sun the 2013 payments went towards “thank-you gifts” for “supporters and staff.”
But Republicans have expressed outrage that Reid paid a relative large amounts of money for vague purposes.
“It’s pretty brazen for Senator Harry Reid to funnel nearly $17,000 in campaign funds to his granddaughter for ‘holiday gifts.’ One of these days Reid will learn that Nevadans don’t appreciate him using campaign money as his personal slush fund,” Jahan Wilcox, a Republican National Committee spokesman, told Politico.
Under fire, Reid is now turning to what highly-respected Nevada journalist Jon Ralston called “playing the aggrieved grandfather.”
“My granddaughter has been the target of harassing phone calls, strangers tracking her down and knocking on her door and negative, unwanted attention on the internet. This has gone too far and it needs to stop now. I deeply regret any role I had in creating this situation but now, as a grandparent, I say enough is enough,” Reid said in a statement.
The statement also says Reid’s office is still calculating the entire amount he owes his campaign.
The payments surfaced when the FEC asked Reid’s campaign committee to explain in greater detail what the $17,000 in “holiday gifts” was spent on.
Under FEC rules, candidates can’t transfer cash gifts to relatives, but they can pay them as a vendor or aide.