The Henry E. Brown Jr. for Congress campaign has given away a sizeable portion of its leftover funds since Brown stopped running to represent South Carolina’s 1st District in 2010, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission. The account had $623,000 cash on hand in the first quarter of 2010, a figure that had dropped to $179,000 by the time of its 2014 year-end report.
Toward the end of 2014, Brown’s campaign gave two donations totaling $40,000 to Cordesville First Baptist Church in Brown’s hometown of Cordesville, S.C. Other major donations have included $50,000 to MUSC Children’s Hospital and $54,000 to Charleston Southern University. After the five-term U.S. Representative announced in January 2010 that he would not be seeking re-election, he also refunded $18,661.42 to donors and transferred $224,000 to Henry Brown for Berkeley County Supervisor, a campaign account for a local race he lost by a narrow margin in 2010.
When elected officials stop campaigning for office, they are prohibited from spending campaign funds for personal use but can use the funds to pay off a campaign’s debts and ongoing expenses. They are allowed to donate their funds to candidates and political causes, although standard donation caps still apply.
In addition, some choose to donate their leftover funds to charity, but not all former politicians choose that route. According to a May 2014 report by the Washington Post, former members of Congress and failed candidates were holding on to nearly $100 million in their campaign accounts, including nine candidates with $1 million or more stashed away.
In addition to his high-dollar donations, which have not been widely publicized, Brown has given donations to some political and other causes. He started giving the money away in 2010, when he donated $10,000 to the Citadel Republican Society, $8,500 to the S.C. Republican Party, $5,000 to the Berkeley County Republican Party, $2,000 to Charleston’s Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim synagogue, and $1,000 to Coastal Youth Ballet. In March 2011 he gave $3,000 to Northside Baptist Church in North Charleston.
Brown has also donated his leftover campaign funds to numerous Republican political campaigns, including $1,000 to Tim Scott for Congress (July 2010), $1,000 to Paul Thurmond for Senate (October 2012), $1,000 to Romney for President Inc. (October 2012), and $1,000 to Todd Akin for Senate (October 2012). Other reported expenses filed under “Operating Expenditures” have gone to AT&T, Home Telephone Company, the U.S. Postal Service, First Citizens Bank, and First Federal Bank.
Brown could not be reached for comment about his donations.