Giffords campaign asks FEC to approve funds for home security upgrades

The campaign of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) is seeking permission from the Federal Election Commission to use campaign funds for security upgrades at the congresswoman's home.

Giffords for Congress sent a letter to the FEC on Wednesday seeking an advisory opinion on whether campaign funds can be used to cover the security expense under campaign finance law.

"Since the attack on Rep. Giffords occurred at a congressional activity, I am inquiring whether the costs of these safety measures may be covered by Rep. Giffords' campaign funds," the letter reads.

The security updates would include improved exterior lighting, locks and installation of a "duress alarm button," according to the letter, which notes that the measures were recommended by Capitol Police.

The Giffords campaign says the security measures have an estimated cost of $2,209 and are "not intended to increase the value of the property."

Giffords, who was shot in the head at a "Congress on your corner" event in Arizona on Jan. 8, was recently released from a hospital in Texas and will receive outpatient rehabilitation treatment while living at home with her family in Arizona.

In April, the FEC approved using campaign funds to install a security system at the home of Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) after Capitol Police recommended the upgrades.

If the FEC concludes that the expenses would not exist apart from Giffords's congressional position and duties, the security expenses do not count as personal use under federal law.

—Updated at 1:34 p.m.