Family Affair 2014 Ballot

Our latest Family Affair report found a shocking 67 members of the Senate, representing 45 states and both parties, used their positions to financially benefit themselves or family members. We narrowed those 67 down to the top six offenders who saw their public office as a way to personal gain. All six misused their positions as Senators, but which one of these Family Affair offenders was the worst? That's for you to decide.

The Nominees for Worst Family Affair Offender

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

Anti-nepotism laws prohibit senators from putting their children on their official payrolls, but that didn't stop Sen. Boxer from using campaign cash to enrich her son. She claimed nearly $40,000 in reimbursements from her campaign committee and leadership PAC and paid more than $300,000 to her son's consulting firm. 

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)

Ordinary Kentuckians pay for their own vacations, but Sen. Paul instead used leadership PAC funds when he and his family visited Israel in 2013. Sen. Paul's family payoffs also included more than $529,000 to the political consulting firm where his wife worked, $4,600 to his father's campaigns for Congress and the White House, and more than $170,000 to his niece's husband for consulting. 

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

For Sen. Grassley's family, political office spans multiple generations, and so does spending. He paid a congressional employee more than $13,500 to work on behalf of his grandson, an Iowa state representative. He cut himself a check too, claiming more than $86,000 in reimbursements from his campaign committee and leadership PAC for himself and his wife. 

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS)

It pays to be a Moran. The Kansas senator claimed more than $134,000 in reimbursements for himself, his wife, his daughter, and his son-in-law. He also paid his daughter more than $10,000 from his campaign committee and leadership PAC. If that wasn't enough, he employs his son-in-law as a legislative assistant in his Washington office and promoted him to a full-time position days before his engagement to Sen. Moran's daughter was publicly announced. 

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)

The Senate majority leader has three relatives who have been registered lobbyists and that family connection showed when Sen. Reid co-sponsored more than $2 million in earmarks to the city of Henderson, Nevada, one of his son-in-law's lobbying clients. Earmarking government funds wasn't the only way Sen. Reid treated his family. He also paid his granddaughter more than $30,000 from his campaign committee for supporter gifts. He later paid the campaign back after scrutiny. 

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL)

Without doubt, the king of reimbursements is Sen. Shelby, who claimed more than $527,000 from his campaign committee and leadership PAC for himself and his wife. That number is more than double the amount claimed by any other senator. He also earmarked and appropriated millions of dollars to revitalize downtown Tuscaloosa, where he owns an office building housing his nephew's law fim that has increased value by hundreds of thousands of dollars.


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