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Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid has been using campaign donations instead of his personal money to pay Christmas bonuses for the support staff at the Ritz-Carlton where he lives in an upscale condominium. Federal election law bars candidates from converting political donations for personal use.
Questioned about the campaign expenditures by The Associated Press, Reid's office said Monday he was personally reimbursing his campaign for $3,300 in donations he had directed to the staff holiday fund at his residence.
Federal election law permits campaigns to provide "gifts of nominal value" but prohibits candidates from using political donations for personal expenses, such as mortgage, rent or utilities for "any part of any personal residence."
The law specifically defines prohibited personal use expenses as any "obligation or expense of any person that would exist irrespective of the candidate's campaign or duties as a federal officeholder."