Reports from Washington indicate Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Calif.) has run out of funds for campaigning just before Tuesday’s election. Richardson is competing against Janice Hahn (D-Calif.) for the newly drawn congressional district that includes San Pedro, Carson, Compton, Lynwood and South Gate.
Hahn, in office for just over a year after taking over Jane Harmon’s former district (stretching roughly from West Los Angeles, along Pacific Coast Highway in the Palos Verdes Peninsula, and south to San Pedro and Wilmington), has been leading in recent polls.
Both candidates are competing for a district that contains a large African American voting bloc, with Richardson having replaced the late Juanita Millender-McDonald on Capitol Hill five years ago, and Hahn attempting to utilize locally her powerful name recognition.
Her father was the late Los Angeles County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn, and her brother, James, was once city attorney and mayor of Los Angeles.
Apparently, Richardson has run through the taxpayer dollars allotted for her official duties, according to Democratic sources. Richardson has had trouble managing money before. She was reprimanded by the House earlier this year for using official resources, including staff, for political purposes. Sources say, her campaign coffers are nearly empty, with only $7,000 raised over the last month.
In an e-mail to staff on Oct. 19, Richardson’s chief of staff, Shirley Cooks, asked aides to plan no-cost “Congress on Your Corner” events after the election. “Since we are overbudget, we don’t have money for mailings etc., so we have to go the way of putting on public events that do not require the use of the MRA,” Cooks wrote.
The MRA is the member’s representational allowance which is the account or “kitty” available for costs arising from providing services to constituents.
If Richardson is overdrawn on the account, she will be responsible for making up the difference out of her own pocket, according to House rules.
The House Administration Committee handbook reads: “Each member is personally responsible for payment of any official representational expenses incurred that exceed the authorized MRA. If a member incurs an obligation to the U.S. House of Representatives and the amount of the obligation incurred exceeds the MRA, the member shall pay the obligation from personal funds.”
In a SurveyUSA poll conducted Monday of likely voters, Hahn leads Richardson 45 to 33 percent. Twenty-two percent of those polled were undecided.
Late Wednesday evening, a spokesperson from Richardson’s office responded that “the inferences in the Politico article are false.”