Money intended to help candidates often ends up funding PACs themselves. Minority Leader John A. Boehner has collected more than $1.4 million from business interests this election cycle for a committee he says he created to help fellow Republican lawmakers. But Boehner’s committee has spent only about a third of its money helping other candidates.
About two-thirds of its expenditures have gone instead to costs the committee describes as necessary to raise money, including fine meals and trips to luxurious resorts where the congressman mingles with corporate-directed groups and lobbyists. Boehner (Ohio) has spent more than $182,000 through the committee on frequent travel with donors to Florida and similar vacation spots, according to Federal Election Commission records, including $70,403 at the Ritz-Carlton in Naples and more than $30,000 at Disney Resort Destinations.
As it turns out, Boehner’s use of funds collected for others by his “leadership PAC,” or political action committee, is more the rule than the exception among Republican and Democratic lawmakers. Most leadership PACs have given away less than 40 percent of their expenditures this cycle, even though they typically say they are collecting and bundling donations for others, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics at the request of The Washington Post.