Liberal Senator Kamala Harris paid tens of thousands of dollars to Rep. Maxine Waters in exchange for a high-profile election endorsement, according to Federal Election Commission records.
Harris has apparently paid Waters $63,000 in total.
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The payments were made from Harris’s campaign committee and transferred to Waters’s campaign committee through a lucrative “slate mailer” operation run by Waters’s daughter, a program that has proved profitable for both her daughter and the campaign.On May 5, 2010, when Harris was a San Francisco district attorney and running for attorney general in the state, her campaign committee, Kamala Harris For AG 2010, paid Waters’s campaign committee, Citizens for Waters, $20,000 to appear on her slate mailer announcing the endorsement. Harris made three payments totaling $33,000 to Waters’s campaign committees throughout the 2010 election cycle. Harris won her election for attorney general.
During the 2016 election cycle, as Harris was running for U.S. Senate, Harris’s campaign committee, Kamala Harris for Senate, made a $30,000 payment in May 2016 to again appear on Waters’s endorsement mailer. Harris trounced former Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez in the race to replace Barbara Boxer in the Senate.
The slate mailer appears as a list of candidates endorsed by Waters and also includes a “sample ballot.”
Karen Waters, the congresswoman’s daughter, runs the operation.
Once outstanding bills by her mother’s campaign are settled, Karen will have received $750,000 through the slate operation since 2006.
The slate mailer operation, which legally allows Waters to bypass campaign contribution limits from other political committees, pulled in more than $300,000 for her campaign during the 2016 election cycle. Harris’s $30,000 payment was one of the highest made to Waters throughout the cycle. Waters appears to be the only Member of Congress to run such an operation.