Washington, D.C. – Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) didn’t let ethics get in the way of getting elected. In 2010, the freshman congressman from California’s Central Valley brazenly violated election laws by transferring corporate funds from his state campaign to a nonprofit for the benefit of his campaign for Congress. This conduct has earned him a dishonorable mention by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) in its Most Corrupt Members of Congress annual report. Click here to read CREW’s full report on Rep. Denham.
“Rep. Denham used the pretense of soliciting contributions for a veterans’ charity to use corporate funds to run television ads that showed him surrounded by veterans shortly before the Republican primary,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “Rep. Denham may have found a new low in despicable campaign tactics.”
In April 2010, Rep. Denham transferred $225,000 from his state campaign account, which included corporate funds, to the Remembering the Brave Foundation. $200,000 of this was classified as a loan. Shortly before the June Republican primary, the group began advertising a benefit concert at a nearby casino owned by the Chukchansi Indian tribe. Rep. Denham was featured prominently in the ads, which were created with the assistance of his campaign consultants. An internal Chukchansi casino memo said the concert’s real purpose was to raise money for Rep. Denham and another candidate. Rep. Denham won the primary. Two weeks after he won the general election, he forgave the loans.
“As it turns out, Remembering the Brave raised only about $100,000 for the project promoted in the ads — less than half of what Rep. Denham contributed to create and run the ads in the first place. If Rep. Denham had been serious about helping, he could have donated the $225,000 to the project in the first place. Of course, then he wouldn’t have had his face and voice plastered all over TV and radio championing veterans right before the primary,” said Ms. Sloan.
This is the 7th edition of the CREW’S Most Corrupt Report, an annual look at a bipartisan collection of Washington’s worst. This year’s list includes seven Democrats, and 12 Republicans. Five are repeat offenders. Since 2005, CREW has named 70 members of Congress to the list, 32 of whom are no longer in office.