Texas democrat Sheila Jackson Lee, notorious for her blustering rhetoric and repeated media blunders, has shown her arrogance once again. Believing the rules do not apply to her, she is now flaunting campaign finance law.
Early this year, Super Bowl 51 was held near her Houston district. Ever the opportunist, Jackson Lee used the event to host a fundraising event and then used her campaign coffers to secure tickets to the big game.
SJL’s first quarter FEC report shows 5 interesting expenditures dated just before and after the Super Bowl (held February 5, 2017). The first expense in dispute from her FEC campaign finance report clearly shows Sheila Jackson Lee paying for Super Bowl tickets with her re-elect fund – a direct abuse of campaign law.
Her campaign donors obviously expect to finance grandstanding and her need for attention but did they intend to finance her Super Bowl plans, too?
Another Super Bowl related payment (for the exact same amount as the ticket(s) above) was sent to her longtime campaign manager, Gerald Womack.
The 3rd payment I’m intrigued by is for a fundraiser at Grotto, a restaurant in Houston, for $4901.46 – virtually the same amount as the first two.
An identical payment as the Grotto expense was then made to Duni Hebron, a Sheila Jackson Lee adviser and former employee of Womack.
Perhaps coincidentally, both Hebron and Womack were “on location” at the Super Bowl with SJL (2nd & 3rd from the left).
The obvious question is: did Sheila Jackson Lee use campaign funds to reimburse her friends for their Super Bowl tickets? If so, these are 2 more possible campaign finance violations.
On the same day as the $4900+ payment was sent to Hebron, she appeared on the red carpet with Sheila Jackson Lee at the NAACP Image Awards in Pasadena, California.
Just days after traveling to the awards show, the SJL campaign makes another payment to Duni Hebron for $631.84 for lodging reimbursement.
Why were big dollar checks cut to Sheila Jackson Lee cronies – within days of checks for identical amounts also going out for Super Bowl checks and fundraisers? Why is SJL using campaign dollars to pay for Super Bowl tickets? Did she buy Super Bowl tickets for 2 of her closest political allies? Did she use campaign dollars to pay for lodging for an awards show?
In her first address to Congress in January 1995, Jackson Lee expressed a desire to reform how business was done in the House.
“The American people want reform, not phony but real reform. They want to know that the days of free meals and free trips and special privileges are over.”
Not including the Grotto fundraiser, campaign checks in excess of $15,330 went out for Super Bowl tickets and to her friends. Is this the type of reform that the residents of Texas District 18 signed up for?