By Sheena Dooley | Iowa Watchdog
DES MOINES – Chauffeurs, Hollywood image consultants, and flowers may not have topped candidate spending lists in Iowa, but they sure stick out from more traditional campaign expenses.
Candidates running for the two most contested Congressional seats in Iowa also used hundreds of thousands in campaign dollars to host fundraisers for themselves and bankroll family members, according to Federal Election Commission spending reports.
Iowa Watchdog reviewed campaign spending in the state’s 3rd and 4th Congressional districts and found a handful of interesting purchases. Here are some list toppers:
- Republican U.S. Rep. Steve King, an incumbent who defeated Iowa’s former First Lady Christie Vilsack in the state’s 4th District, hired a chauffeur for a day in Maryland at a cost of $468.
- King’s campaign paid Jeff King, his son, and Lindsay King, his daughter-in-law, a combined $118,263 for helping in his re-election bid, something that federal election laws allow.
- King spent $230,416 to hold fundraisers for himself, while Vilsack spent $165,409.
- King paid an additional $41,000 for an image consultant in Hollywood that has also worked with Tanya Tucker, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Republican John McCain.
- Three candidates from the 3rd and 4th districts spent a combined $1,268 on flowers. King paid $129 for them. In Iowa’s 3rd District, Democratic Incumbent Leonard Boswell paid $579 for flowers, while his opponent Republican Incumbent Tom Latham spent $560. He also paid $90 for balloons.
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