Kyrsten Sinema, the first out bisexual U.S. senator, is living a lavish lifestyle funded by campaign contributions, according to a new report in the New York Post.
Sinema was elected to the Senate, and previously the U.S. House and the Arizona legislature, as a Democrat, but she recently became an independent. She has disappointed many liberals with her embrace of some conservative positions and her courting of financial interests.
The Arizona senator “has filled her campaign coffers with Wall Street cash — but some donors are miffed she’s spent more than $100,000 of it on luxury hotels, private jets, limos and fine wines,” the Post’s On the Money feature reports.
In the past two years, she has spent $20,000 in campaign funds at high-end wineries on the West Coast, according to On the Money, which reviewed election finance documents. The article also details $10,000 in spending at luxury restaurants around the world and $45,000 on chauffeurs. She’s been staying at resorts and chartering flights too.
“This appears to be an outlier,” Thomas Jones, president of the American Accountability Foundation, told the Post. “There’s a decent number of fundraiser type events at nice restaurants and steak houses but Sinema’s spending appears outside the norm. Donors generally want candidates spending their money on winning their races — not on expensive meals and fancy destinations.” The foundation is a conservative group, but Sinema has been criticized from the left as well. Some Democratic donors want their money back, but Sinema and her staff have ceased responding to them, according to the article.
Among her actions favoring high-finance interests, “in August, Sinema squashed a challenge to the ‘carried-interest’ loophole that taxes private equity and hedge fund profits at a lower rate than other businesses,” the Post notes. “The move benefits only a handful of private-equity and hedge fund titans.”
“It’s pretty simple: Kyrsten Sinema delivered an $18 billion gift to private equity executives and now they’re paying her back with campaign donations,” Sacha Haworth, a former staffer for Sinema, told the publication.
U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego, a Democrat, has announced he’s running for Sinema’s Senate seat in 2024. She hasn’t said if she’ll seek reelection. A poll conducted in January and February indicated Gallego was more popular with voters than Sinema or several potential Republican candidates. More recent polling has shown her support is rising among Republicans and independents.
E.J. Montini, an opinion columnist in The Arizona Republic, responded to the Post article by pointing out that early in her political career, Sinema highlighted the fact that she grew up in poverty. Now, he wrote, “it’s almost as if, over the years, Sinema has transformed herself from Little Orphan Annie into Cruella de Vil.”