Texas Congressman Vicente Gonzalez Funnels Thousands To Himself For Office Space

According to public documents, Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX) has paid himself $33,000 since 2018 for office rent.

His campaign financial disclosures show that Gonzalez is the “owner and director” of Tenant Services LLC, which has received payments for office rent for the office space used by Gonzalez in his capacity as a politician.

Technically, politicians are allowed to pay themselves a reasonable rate for office rent in buildings that they own, but the practice has been frowned upon in the public eye, particularly when it comes to former President Donald Trump.

Trump came under fire during his presidency when it was discovered that campaign contributions had been used to pay for office space at Trump Tower. At the time, watchdog groups called the move “sleazy,” “a scam,” and “a con.”

Larry Sabato, a political scientist for the University of Virginia, expressed that he does not believe it is appropriate for any individual running for public office to enrich themselves through the campaign. In doing so, he compared Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY), who paid a company he owns $40,000 with campaign funds, to Trump.

“You shouldn’t be running for office or serving in office to enrich yourself in any form,” Sabato said. “Trump was a master of this.”

Gonzalez is a three-term congressman running for a fourth term in his South Texas district. While he is well-known in the community, Republicans are hoping that U.S. Rep. Mayra Flores (R-TX) can overtake Gonzalez in the election.

Democrats remain confident. Former U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, who last represented the district as a Democrat, said Gonzalez is a shoo-in for the position.

“There’s no way Vicente can lose this race,” said Vela. “The world could collapse and he’s still going to win.”

Gonzalez is running, what he calls, his most robust operation since his first campaign for Congress in 2016. Through June, the campaign had already spent $2.2 million, which is nearly twice the amount of his last two campaigns combined. In September, he began a barrage of TV advertisements.

The Cook Political Report said Wednesday that the race between Gonzalez and Flores is a “toss-up.”