$10,000 of campaign funds went to pay for Super Bowl 51 tickets, thanks to Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee. Rather than spending the money on her own campaign, the Texas Congresswoman also used taxpayer dollars to pay for a dinner costing almost $5000.
Jackson Lee posted photographs of herself at the game in Houston, Texas. She spent time with players, including Ellis Wyms, who tweeted a photo of the congresswoman wearing a “VIP Preview” badge, while gushing that he was, “Hanging out with congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee at the Super Bowl Kickoff. What an amazing woman.”
Not everybody is so charmed by Jackson Lee’s use of taxpayer dollars, however. Matthew Whitaker, president of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, asked what football tickets had to do with an election:
“We are always concerned and want more information when we see campaign expenditures that are not directly for campaign purposes. Campaign funds should not be used for anything other than running a campaign,” Whitaker said. “There have been many cases of public officials abusing their campaign funds for personal expenses and for the benefit of others. The public deserves an explanation on why Super Bowl tickets were a campaign expense.”
According to the Daily Caller:
Her campaign committee bought a trove of tickets on Feb. 3, two days prior to the big game, paying $4,900 to 21st Century Fox, the agency doing government relations for Super Bowl 51. On Feb. 8, campaign manager Gerald Womack received $4,900 as a reimbursement for ticket expenses.
The campaign also burned up a similar amount of cash on Super Bowl entertainment expenses, running up a $4,901.46 tab at the Grotto Restaurant, a popular Italian bistro in Houston, and claimed that as another campaign expenses.
There was even $250 available for J. Pope Consulting, a consulting firm based in Maryland that apparently prepared a “super bowl invitation design.”