Campaign finance documents show that Massachusetts Republican Sen. Scott Brown's re-election campaign has paid his daughter Ayla Brown $9,500 for performing at three campaign events.
The three paid events, listed as payments to Ambient Entertainment LLC, go back to December 2010 and include a pair of Christmas parties. Ayla Brown is a former "American Idol" contestant whose band has performed at several events with her father, going back to his first 2010 U.S. Senate campaign to replace the late Sen. Ted Kennedy.
Brown is currently locked in a tight re-election campaign against Elizabeth Warren.
Republicans have had their share of controversy when it comes to music played at their campaign events. But most of that furor has centered around musicians with liberal political views who object to having their hit songs played at Republican political rallies. Earlier this week, 80's one-hit wonder band "Survivor" sued Newt Gingrich over his use of the song "Eye of the Tiger" at his rallies.
On the flip side, it's refreshing to see a candidate's family member doing something other than awkwardly smiling and waving in the background of family photo-ops. Still, paying $10,000 to his own daughter will open Brown and his campaign to accusations of nepotism. Or, at the very least, of being tone deaf.
The Boston Globe reports that federal election law permits Brown's campaign to pay his daughter's band for the performances at "fair market value," but also allows her to volunteer her services at no charge. The Brown campaign was not able to specify how much of the funds went directly to Ayla Brown and what percentages went to her fellow bandmates.
More specifically, campaign manager Jim Barnett tells the Globe that Ayla Brown and her band were paid to avoid asking her fellow musicians to effectively endorse candidate Brown by volunteering at his official events.
"Everything was done properly and in full compliance with [Federal Election Commission] regulations,'' Barnett said in a statement. "It is far more impractical to sort out any individual band member's relatively small cut of the compensation and reimbursement than to simply pay the band the fair market value for their services. It would have been entirely inappropriate to suggest to other band members that they donate their professional services to the father of their lead singer.''
Ayla Brown lives in Nashville and is under contract to sing the national anthem at Philadelphia 76ers games. She also performs in Massachusetts.
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