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Attorney General Rob Bonta. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Should Campaign Funds Be Used for Babysitting Costs?

San Diego Democrat not sure if candidates and lawmakers worthy of paid childcare costs

By Katy Grimes, May 1, 2019 2:00 pm

“I don’t know if we’re that special.”

Assemblywoman Shirley Weber

Because political candidates with young children are faced with paying for increased child care to campaign and network when running for office, Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Alameda) has authored AB 220 which “would help create greater gender parity among elected officials in California and more broadly help all parents with young children seek public office by allowing the use of campaign funds for child care expenses.”

Assemblywoman Shirley N. Weber. (Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

AB 220 was introduced in January, and heard in the Elections and Redistricting Committee Wednesday. It is clear that while the committee voted to pass the bill, members still have concerns with it.

“I’m not sure how I feel,” Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) said. “I’ve been a professional all my life and had children. I didn’t think it was anyone else’s job to figure it out – I had to deal with it.” Weber said she never expected anyone else to pay for the care of her children while she and her husband worked and attended their work-related activities. However, she said she sees the struggles her staff members with children experience.

Assemblywoman Weber said she was concerned with giving lawmakers and candidates more benefits that private sector working parents do not have – especially the majority of the working parents who make significantly less than elected legislators. “I’m not sure giving us slack is that good. I don’t know if we’re that special.”

“Childcare expenses” includes the reasonable costs of professional daycare services, babysitting, nannying services, food and beverages, transportation to and from the location of a childcare services provider, before and after-school programs, and preschool.

“As for performing our official duties, we signed up to do the job,” Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Marysville), a father of five said. “We have to figure it out.”

The Fair Political Practices Commission which last weighed in on campaign covered childcare expenses in 1994, will be again offering clarity on AB 220. The Federal Elections Commission now allows a candidate for Congress to use campaign funds to pay for childcare expenses.


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