Political campaigns can be costly, and many elected officials devote significant time and energy to keeping their campaign “war chests” well-stocked.
But after the election, some campaign coffers remain flush with unspent funds, and Mississippi has no law that forbids candidates from using those funds for personal expenses.
Rep. Hank Zuber, R-Ocean Springs, has made several attempts to change the law during this legislative session, but, barring an unexpected miracle, his latest effort succumbed to a deadline Wednesday night.
Stuffing surplus campaign cash into a back pocket may be legal, but it’s just not right. Zuber’s legislation would have required the money to be dedicated to a future campaign, returned to contributors, donated to nonprofits, donated to another candidate, offered to the state treasury, or contributed to a school district or museum or other legal entity in the candidate’s election district. Lots of good options, but none as tempting to the lawmakers who wielded control over the bills as visions of those fat campaign bank accounts.