California Democrat Rep. Eric Swalwell has been accused of misusing campaign money amounting to over $50,000 during the second quarter of this year that includes a whopping $20,000 on booze and in hotel bills and car services. Interestingly, a large portion of this amount was shelled out at a hotel where the congressman's wife once worked, records show.
The filings released on Thursday also show Swalwell spent thousands of dollars on short trips where he used limousine service. The five-term House member has been supported by fellow Democrats in leadership despite being linked to the female Chinese intelligence agent Fang Fang, with whom he allegedly had a honeytrap affair.
Misusing Campaign Money
According to receipts filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Swalwell, 40, blew money at the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay, California, where his wife Brittany had worked. Brittany was the director of sales from 2015 to November 2019, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Besides, Swalwell spent $7,000 at restaurants and steakhouses in Washington D.C. during the second quarter of 2021. Also, huge portions of campaign money were spent on car services. Around $11,000 was spent on car services, with more than $6,000 spent in 21 transactions with NYC-based Sunny's Executive Sedan across May and June. This was spent during 26 short trips when he availed limousine services.
The receipts also prove that the Democrat congressman has a fetish for red meat and spent huge amount on that. The tally includes 13 meals at restaurants including Charlie Palmer Steak, O-Ku Sushi and STK Steakhouse in downtown New York City. The Swalwell campaign also utilized the alcohol delivery service Drizly to the tune of $566.04 on nine separate occasions between the start of April and the end of June.
The filings also included $205 for 'Supporter Appreciations' at The Knot website where couples publish their wedding registries.
Spoiling His Image
The recent filings once again show the way Swalwell maintains a lavish lifestyle. He was also recently photographed along with four other Democrats posing shirtless on camels during an all-paid Qatar trip earlier this year.
Although there is no suggestion that any of the Swalwell campaign's spending was illegal but it definitely was misuse of funds given that he shelled out more than half a million dollars across the country during three months of a non-election year. This, on behalf of a congressman in a non-competitive House seat, indicates Swalwell's high profile in the Democratic Party.
Swalwell was at one time seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party but that has changed over the past couple of years. He launched a presidential run in 2019, setting himself up as the candidate for a younger generation, but dropped out as his star was eclipsed by the likes of Beto O'Rourke and Pete Buttigieg.
The recent filings could further land him in trouble. He is already a prime target of Republicans, attracting their ire for his role as House manager in President Trump's second impeachment. In fact, Republicans had demanded that he be removed from his post on the House Intelligence Committee after it was revealed last year that her was into a honeytrap affair with a suspected Chinese spy, named Fang Fang, who worked as a fundraiser for him for years.
According to federal investigators, Fang Fang is said to have cozied up with Swalwell and other several other politicians â going so far as to sleep with at least two mayors during her period of activity between 2011 and 2015.
Swalwell has maintained that he didn't do anything wrong during the honeytrap affair and that he has cooperated fully with the FBI investigation. However, he has remained tight-lipped on the nature of his relationship with Fang.