FEC moves to approve purchase of home security upgrades for Giffords

The Federal Election Commission, in a draft opinion released Tuesday, said Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) should be allowed to use campaign funds for home security.

“The expenses for the proposed upgrades to the security system at Representative Giffordss family home would not exist irrespective of her duties as a Federal officeholder or as a candidate for re-election,” FEC Chairwoman Cynthia Bauerly stated in the draft opinion. “Therefore, the use of campaign funds to pay for these security system upgrades would not constitute personal use of campaign contributions.”

{mosads}The Giffords campaign had requested the FEC rule on the issue earlier this month; the commission will formally vote on the proposal at its meeting Thursday. The upgrades, estimated to cost $2,200, included “improved exterior lighting, improving locks in the home and the installation of a duress alarm button,” according to the petition. 

Michael McNulty, treasurer of Giffordss campaign, said the U.S. Capitol Police recommended the upgrades. 

Giffords was shot in January outside a Safeway grocery store near Tucson, Ariz., in an attempted assassination. A Giffords aide said Tuesday that the congresswoman is now walking with a cane and able to write — encouraging signs on the path to recovery.

Although Giffords has not yet decided whether she will seek another term, other congressional Democrats have been fundraising on her behalf as she works though her recovery.

Giffords would not be the first member of Congress to use campaign funds for security. The FEC approved the use of $5,000 in campaign funds to bolster security at the home of Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) following a similar recommendation from the Capitol Police.


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