Cam­paign funds OK’d for home se­cu­rity

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL -

WASH­ING­TON — Law­mak­ers can use cam­paign funds to boost se­cu­rity at their homes, a fed­eral panel de­cided as House Ma­jor­ity Whip Steve Scalise re­mains in fair con­di­tion at a Wash­ing­ton hospi­tal after a gun­man opened fire at a base­ball prac­tice nearly a month ago.

The Fed­eral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion voted 5-0 on Thurs­day to let law­mak­ers use up to $15,000 in cam­paign funds for “non­struc­tural” se­cu­rity sys­tems. The com­mis­sion cited ris­ing threats of vi­o­lence against mem­bers of Congress.

The com­mis­sion based its de­ci­sion on a re­quest from House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irv­ing, the chief law en­force­ment of­fi­cial for the cham­ber. Irv­ing said threats against mem­bers of Congress have soared. The U.S. Capi­tol Po­lice, which in­ves­ti­gated 902 such threats last year, has in­ves­ti­gated about 950 so far this year.

Scalise, R-La., and four other peo­ple were in­jured June 14 when a gun­man opened fire on a prac­tice in nearby Alexan­dria, Va. U.S. Capi­tol Po­lice and other of­fi­cers re­turned fire and killed the gun­man.

The com­mis­sion said if the threat en­vi­ron­ment di­min­ishes sig­nif­i­cantly, then Thurs­day’s con­clu­sion may change. Fed­eral law gen­er­ally pro­hibits fed­eral law­mak­ers and can­di­dates from con­vert­ing cam­paign funds to per­sonal use.

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