Politics

Rep. Rush Keeps Campaign Expenses All In The Family

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief

Re-election campaigns for Chicago’s longtime Democratic Rep. Bobby Rush are a family affair.

While running for re-election in 2016, Chicago Democratic Rep. Bobby Rush paid more than $100,000 to his wife, mother, brother and son, according to campaign finance records.

Rush also funneled more than $2 million in government grants to a wellness center that is part of a church that Rush — an ordained minister — founded, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

The family took in a total of $119,564 in 2016 campaign expenses. They accounted for 21 percent of the $570,743 that Citizens for Rush — the congressman’s election committee — demanded to win the election campaign.

It is not the first time that the controversial congressman, who represents the 1st District in Illinois, has had his election expenses questioned. In May 2016, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) sent a letter to Sheila Jackson, treasurer for Citizens for Rush, requesting clarification of claimed expenses by a reporting date of June 20. The FEC did not receive any clarification.

In this latest election cycle, documents show that Rush paid his wife Carolyn $50,000 for “consulting fees.” The oft-consulted spouse has racked up more $550,000 in campaign money since she made her first appearance on the expense ledger in 2002.

Other family members were also in the money line during this last election.

Marlon Rush, the congressman’s brother, received $34,082 in 2016 as campaign manager, for a campaign that faced no real opposition. Rush beat his runner-up Republican opponent by more than 50 percent.

Cora Rush, mother to Bobby Rush, collected $21,827 while Jeffrey Rush pocketed $13,655.

Petty cash was dispensed to members of the Rush kin as well. Cora Rush received $2,000 on March 13, 2016 for “purchase of Election Day supplies and payments to Election Day workers. Apparently, the money did not go far as Cora collected another $1,000 for an “Election Day victory party” that was about six months away, assuming Rush won re-election.

The Rush family has been no stranger to media attention. In 2008, Jeffrey Rush was sentenced to six months in prison for abusing his office as a state prison official by having sex with two female inmates.

Rep. Rush was first elected to Congress in 1992 and will soon celebrate his 25th electoral anniversary.  He continues his work in Congress. Rush’s Congressional website reports that last month he introduced a concurrent resolution with New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker “to address exorbitant prison phone rates between the imprisoned and their loved ones.”

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