Report: House Republican used campaign funds to illegally pay for country club membership

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Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX) spent more than $2,300 on membership fees or dues at the private club, Roll Call reported on Monday.

Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX) spent more than $2,300 in campaign funds at a private businessmen's club, Roll Call reported on Monday.

The Texas Republican spent the campaign funds on membership fees or dues at the Amarillo Club, according to Federal Election Commission filings. It is illegal to use campaign funds for personal purposes.

Jackson has denied that the money he spent at the private club was for personal use.

"These costs are strictly associated with campaign and fundraising events," Casey Nelson, a spokesperson for Jackson, said in a statement to Roll Call

While politicians may hold campaign events at private social clubs, it is illegal to use campaign funds to pay for membership fees at such clubs.

The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) explicitly prohibits authorized committees from making expenditures for anything "that would exist irrespective of the candidate's election campaign" or duties as a federal officeholder. Some of these prohibited expenditures included in a 2021 report by the Congressional Research Service were very specifically "country club memberships" and "dues and fees for health clubs or recreational facilities."

Moreover, when charges listed for food and drinks were included, Jackson's campaign committee, Texans for Ronny Jackson, reported expenditures of more than $6,400 at the Amarillo Club⁠ since 2020.

Earlier this month, the House Ethics Committee announced Jackson to be under investigation after the Office of Congressional Ethics sent a report for the panel to review. Ethics Committee Chairman Ted Deutch and Ranking Member Jackie Walorski said in a statement that the panel had taken up a matter referred to it in December of last year, and would make an announcement on its course of action by May 23.

Although the committee did not give a reason for the investigation, a spokesperson for Jackson told The Hill that the matter concerned his campaign finance activities and that Jackson had cooperated fully. 

Jackson ran for the House of Representatives as an "anti-swamp" candidate who vowed to "expose every corrupt and criminally negligible action" of the Biden Administration and hold them accountable in 2022, as mentioned in his tweet. He then proceeded to call multiple Democratic leaders "liars" and "corrupts" without providing any evidence to support his claims. He was also the first to sign the pledge by U.S. Term Limits for an amendment to term-limit members of Congress.

"Career politicians breed corruption and they empower the Swamp we all want to see drained," Jackson said in a tweet. "I'm proud to sign the pledge to LIMIT how long Members can serve in Congress."

Jackson previously served as the White House physician under former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump. Last year, Jackson accused a Pentagon inspector general of carrying out a "political hit job" against him after a report was released stating that Jackson drank on the job and showed abusive behavior toward staff members.

Additionally, Trump unsuccessfully attempted to appoint Jackson Secretary of Veterans Affairs in 2018. Jackson's nomination was withdrawn after allegations that he had misused alcohol on the job became public.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.