Retired Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid really likes Harry Reid.
So much so that he wanted a big painting of Harry Reid to be displayed at the U.S. Capitol.
But since this sort of idiotic extravagance is (thankfully) not something you can just pay for with taxpayer dollars, Reid dipped into another little account: his campaign funds.
The portrait was unveiled in December at a farewell ceremony for the ancient Democratic leader. It turns out he paid a former staffer $7,000 to paint the mural of himself sitting behind a desk signing something or other.
Gavin Glakas, a former Reid staffer, painted the portrait that will sit at the Capitol, The Washington Free Beacon reports. On April 19 of last year, a check was cut to Glakas from “Friends for Harry Reid,” his official campaign committee.
The farewell ceremony was attended by failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Vice President Joe Biden, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Glakas was also in attendance, and he has also added the painting to his gallery of work on his website.
Reid may be the latest, but he’s not the first politician to use campaign coffers to pay for a self-portrait. New York Rep. Charlie Rangel paid a whopping $64,500 for a painting of himself in 2007.
Rangel’s lawyer at the time, Phu Huynh, wrote a letter to the Federal Election Commission asking permission to use either campaign funds or leadership PAC funds to pay for the portrait.
The FEC said in an October 2007 advisory opinion that Rangel could use campaign funds to pay because “the U.S. House of Representatives is an organization described in section 170(c) of Title 26 and because payment for the portrait would not financially benefit Representative Rangel or any member of his family.”
The FEC also said that leadership PAC funds could be used because “the payment would not be an in-kind contribution for the purpose of influencing any election.”
During the event – one of the few that she attended after her embarrassing defeat to President-Elect Donald Trump – Hillary Clinton sounded resigned.
“This is not exactly the speech at the Capitol I hoped to be giving after the election, but after a few weeks of taking selfies in the woods, I thought it would be a good time to come out,” Clinton joked. “And I’m very grateful to Harry for inviting me to be part of this celebration.”
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