New York Democrat Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, instructed his constituents to halt travel due to COVID-19 while he spent tens of thousands on travel expenses of his own, according to a report from The Washington Free Beacon.
In March 2020, Maloney stopped accepting petition signatures “out of concern for the safety and wellbeing” of New Yorkers. Shortly after, he told people in his state to “stop spreading this virus” and “stay home.”
“We can all do our part. Stay at home,” Maloney said at the time. “Don’t go out if you don’t need to, minimize your contact with other people. If a member of your family is sick, the whole family’s got to stay home so we don’t go spread it. That’s why having some groceries in the house to last a week or two is important.”
Despite instructing his constituents to remain at home, the Democrat splurged tens of thousands of dollars for travel-related expenses. He ran up $29,000 on “ground transportation” in addition to “automobile expenses.” $20,000 was allocated for insurance and lease fees, over $3,600 on collision-related repairs, over $2,000 for gasoline, $2,100 for car rentals, and an estimated $500 on satellite radio — financial disclosures obtained by the Free Beacon show.
The Free Beacon found that Maloney’s splurge was highly unusual. Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-N.Y., works in a region six times larger than Maloney’s 18th Congressional District. Delgado, who represents the 19th district, had no transportation-related disclosures in the fiscal year of 2020. U.S. campaign finance laws prohibit candidates from using money for personal travel expenses.
The office of Rep. Maloney did not answer calls from The Federalist.
Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust executive director Kendra Arnold told the Free Beacon Maloney’s financial disclosures raise “red flags.”
“Without having any in-person campaigning, you wouldn’t expect there to be a lot of expenses,” Arnold said. “Candidates don’t have to link [disbursements] to a specific corresponding event, so of course anything could be made up. We generally look for spending that isn’t in the realm of a candidate in the same state or in a similar-sized district.”
Since 2012, Maloney’s campaign has reportedly spent upwards of $130,000 on car expenses. Maloney was sued in 2018 by Zephyr Teachout, a former candidate for the House in New York’s 19th district, after transferring $1.4 million in federal dollars to his campaign. Several ethics complaints were also filed.
Maloney failed to disclose several stock trades amounting to more than $11,000 in a timely fashion last month.