Last Updated on January 31, 2021
Controversial and hyper-partisan US Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA, has now funneled more than $1.13 million in payments for “services rendered” to her daughter out of her campaign war chest, a post-2020 election tally shows.
Karen Waters, daughter of Maxine, has been providing her mother’s campaigns with an array of services since 2003, and been handsomely compensated for doing so with the majority of campaign cash income coming from her role in running a controversial slate-mailer operation.
Waters’ slate-mailer program is an ethically questionable scheme that seemingly monetizes Waters’ endorsement for California politicians who facilitate donations in exchange for campaign mailers bearing her endorsement.
The slate-mailers have become increasingly profitable Karen Waters.
— New York Post (@nypost) December 5, 2020
During the 2020 General Election cycle, Karen Waters’ take from the slate-mailer campaign product peaked $240,000. This is considerably more than what her firm, Progressive Connections, took in during the 2006 election cycle. That year the younger Waters’ firm made $90,000.
While campaign programs like Waters’ slate-mailers are commonplace in Democrat-dominated states like California and Oregon, the questionable practice is all but non-existent at the federal level.
In fact, an examination of all federally elected officials across the country shows that Waters is the only federal politician to utilize a slate-mailer operation. This reality has watchdog groups filing complaints about the program and the arrangement between Waters and her daughter. Several watchdog groups have asked the FEC to audit Waters’ campaign finances.
The ethically gray nature of Waters’ slate-mailer scheme has seen several high-profile California politicians come to court, among them Vice President Kamala Harris (D), who twice doled out tens of thousands from her campaign coffers for a spot on the mailers, Governor Gavin Newsom (D), and former US Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA).
#CA43 Democrat Maxine Waters raked in $390.6K in Q2 (including $195,351 in payments for her 'Slate Mailer'), while her daughter Karen added another $95K in 'Slate Mailer Management Fees'.
— Rob Pyers (@rpyers) July 14, 2018
“While some of these mailers reflect the earnest political values of the organizations that put them together, many are pay-to-play money-makers that blur the line between endorsement, paid advertisement and extortion,” CalMatters, a nonpartisan, nonprofit journalism venture, wrote last year.
Waters got the green light for the mailer operation from the Federal Election Commission in 2004.