Politicians routinely spend campaign cash on fundraisers, parades and other events related to running for public office. But funerals?
A campaign finance report filed by state Sen. David Tomassoni suggests that the Chisholm Democrat reimbursed himself $4,702 for costs related to funerals in 2019. Line items include $1,049 for "funeral and office expense" and, more perplexingly, $850 on "funeral, computer antivirus and wifi expense."
Tomassoni did not respond to a request for comment. But campaign treasurer Richard Newbauer blamed the appearance of a high funeral tab on the report format. Tomassoni, he said, "puts everything on one credit card" then submits requests for reimbursements for campaign expenses in batches that might include spending on both funeral gifts and Wi-Fi, for example. "It gets sometimes a little jumbled," he said. "I don't always list all the details."
State law allows officials to use campaign funds for some costs related to bereavement, but such spending must be limited to gifts such as flowers or memorial scholarship donations. Newbauer estimated that just 20% of the reimbursements in question, so more than $900, was for funerals. All such costs were "related to flowers and gifts," he said.
"He does attend a lot of funerals," Newbauer said. "Over the course of the summer, he was gone a lot."
Torey Van Oot