Rep. Ronny Jackson may have improperly spent campaign funds for personal use, according to a report from the Office of Congressional Ethics released Monday.
The report, referred to the House Ethics Committee, said it found “substantial reason to believe” that Jackson used campaign funds to pay for membership in a private social club.
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The report states that Federal Election Commission regulations prohibit campaign committees from using campaign funds “to secure unlimited access to country clubs, health clubs, recreational facilities, and other non-political organizations.” But the report said Jackson’s campaign committee, Texans for Ronny Jackson, used campaign funds to pay for unlimited access to the Amarillo Club, a private social and dining club in Amarillo, Texas.
The report also said Jackson “refused to cooperate with this review,” and his counsel sent a short response that his activities at the social club complied with regulations.
Members of the Amarillo Club, the report states, have access to “numerous benefits,” including “fine dining, a wine program, a gym, and banquet and meeting room spaces,” as well as reciprocity at a national network of comparable social clubs. The report listed payments from Texans for Ronny Jackson appearing to be membership dues covering Jackson and his wife, as well as “spending on various Amarillo Club meals and events.”
A response from a law firm representing Jackson published with the report said that the campaign purchased the membership to utilize meeting space in the club because the “cost of such membership was determined to be less than the campaign would have spent on renting meeting space on an individual basis.”
“Neither Congressman Jackson nor any members of his family have utilized any benefits of the Amarillo Club other than dining and meeting spaces for campaign purposes,” the response read. “Accordingly, all expenses at issue were made by Texans for Ronny Jackson for campaign purposes.”
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When asked for comment by the Washington Examiner, Jackson’s office pointed to the response published with the report.