The Federal Election Commission wants to know why Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid paid out over $16,000 in campaign funds to his granddaughter for “holiday gifts” to “donors and supporters.”
The sketchy expenditure was first flagged by Nevada reporter Jon Ralston. According to the FEC reports filed last year by Reid’s campaign committee, Friends for Harry Reid, the campaign paid “Ryan Elisabeth” $5416.93 on October 7 and $11,370 on October 23. Both payments are listed as “holiday gifts” on the FEC report.
According to Ralston, Reid’s office eventually confirmed to him that Ryan Elisabeth’s full name is Ryan Elisabeth Reid, and that she is the Senator’s granddaughter and a jewelry maker. Reid’s office was not originally forthcoming about this information, however, and only confirmed that Ryan Elisabeth was a relative after repeated prodding and speculation from Nevada journalists.
The gifts, Ralston reports, were passed on to “donors and supporters.”
Ryan Elisabeth Reid’s LinkedIn page lists her as currently employed by the Sprat Theatre Company, where, according to their website, she is the artistic director. Her page in the Brooklyn Arts Council registry of artists also notes that she has a jewelry company called Ryan Elisabeth.
The FEC is requesting an explanation of the purpose of those expenditures from Friends for Harry Reid.
“Itemized disbursements must include a brief statement or description of why each disbursement was made,” reads a letter from the FEC to the pro-Reid group. “Please amend Schedule B supporting Line 17 of your report to clarify the following description: ‘holiday gifts.’”
The letter is signed by Jill Sugarman, Senior Campaign Finance and Reviewing Analyst at the FEC’s Reports Analysis Division.
“The campaign complied with all FEC rules,” Chris Anderson, the finance director for Friends for Harry Reid, told Ralston. Even so, Ralston notes, “many will wonder why Reid needs to use campaign funds for holiday gifts to give to supporters and donors and why he enriched his granddaughter in so doing.”
A spokesman for Reid did not immediately respond to The Daily Caller’s request for comment.