- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Federal Election Commission has unanimously agreed to let members of Congress use campaign funds to finance home security systems.

The approval comes a month after a gunman opened during a congressional softball team practice, critically injuring House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.

The five-member FEC board is now allowing federal lawmakers use campaign funds for costs associated with installing, upgrading and monitoring “cameras, sensors, distress devices and similar non-structural security devices, as well as locks, in and around a Member’s residence.”

Residential security systems are “ordinary and necessary expenses incurred in connection with the duties of the individual as a holder of federal office,” the FEC agreed, meaning a lawmaker may legally use campaign funds to finance approved systems without violating the Federal Election Campaign Act’s rules for personal expenses.

“As a permitted use, the spending on the residential security systems does not fall into the Act’s prohibition on federal officeholders’ converting contributions they have accepted to their own ‘personal use,’” the FEC said.

The FEC’s vote addressed a request made last month by House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving in the wake of the shooting, which injured three others in addition to Mr. Scalise.

House lawmakers received 950 threats during the first six months of 2017, Mr. Irving said, up from 902 during all of 2016.

“Members receive threatening communications on a daily basis,” he wrote in his request.

Mr. Scalise was shot in the hip when a gunman identified as James Hodgkinson, 66, opened fire as the Republican congressional softball team practiced on the morning of June 14 outside of Washington. He was readmitted to a D.C. hospital last week for a related infection.

Hodgkinson, of Illinois, died in a shootout with police. Social media postings attributed to Hodgkinson discovered after the rampage suggest he held highly critical views of President Trump and other members of the Republican Party.

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