Media Mention

Michael Toner Comments on Sen. Harry Reid’s Campaign Transaction with Granddaughter

New York Post
March 28, 2014

Michael E. Toner, co-chair of Wiley Rein’s Election Law & Government Ethics Practice, was quoted by the New York Post in an article published this week about an unusual $17,000 transaction that the campaign of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) had with Sen. Reid’s granddaughter.

The article describes how the Federal Election Commission (FEC) reported that Sen. Reid’s campaign cut two checks—one for $5,417 and a second for $11,370—to Sen. Reid’s 23-year-old granddaughter, Ryan Elisabeth Reid.  The checks, sent to Ms. Reid last October, were reportedly described to purchase “holiday gifts.”  Sen. Reid said he would repay the money to the campaign.  According to the article, FEC rules do not allow gifts to a lawmaker’s family members; however grandchildren are not listed among prohibited relatives.  Mr. Toner, who is a former chairman of the FEC, said that it depends on the nature and the value of the gifts when determining if they are a permissible use of campaign funds under the federal election laws.

“You’ve got to know the nature of the gifts and how many there were and what their value was to assess whether it’s lawful or not,” Mr. Toner said.

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