Connie Mack's Senate campaign charged nearly $470 for clothing at a Brooks Brothers in Jacksonville, FEC records show, an apparent violation of law.
Records show identical charges of $234 were made on April 12 and May 16 and the campaign listed it as "clothing." Federal law prohibits the use of campaign funds for personal items including "clothing, other than items of de minimis value that are used in the campaign, such as campaign ‘'T-shirts' or caps with campaign slogans."
Asked today of the charges, Mack spokesman David James told the Buzz: "The Brooks Brothers charges were mistaken, inappropriate charges made by travel staff. All charges have been reversed in the form of a reimbursement by staff which will show up in the next report."
He added: "When the error was discovered the charges were made to the campaign credit card and therefore had to be reported. Nothing more here than a staffer taking a liberty instead of finding a dry cleaner. Aren't you going to ask about taxes, ObamaCare or job creation?"
It's the second issue that has come up with Mack. Earlier this year we reported how he has sent official House mail, paid for by taxpayers, to Florida residents far outside his district. That was a violation of House rules and a vendor, who took the blame, repaid the treasury. Subsequently, the Republican head of the Franking Committee said Mack was in the clear.
Mack's campaign didn't name the staffer who allegedly made the questionable purchases. While the expenditure is small and the apparent violation minimal, the incident speaks to a broader problem with the Mack campaign, which spent more than it took in last quarter. Mack disbursed $867,802, listed receipts of $839,556 and has $1.4 million cash on hand. Bill Nelson's report isn't available online yet but his campaign said it raised $1.8 million and he has nearly $11 million cash on hand.
Roll Call reported about the National Republican Senatorial Committee's jitters regarding Mack and urged him to hire a new fundraising team, Gula Graham. But the problem might not be the fundraising team itself. It could be Mack and his entire campaign, which Florida Republicans have had deep reservations about for months now.