Eric Massa used a campaign account to pay $40,000 to his then-chief-of-staff just days before resigning from Congress according to campaign finance records, Politico reports.
Joe Racalto, who received the payment, has been a key figure in the sexual assault allegations that drove Massa, a western New York Democrat, to step down last month.
Racalto reportedly confronted Massa about allegations of sexual harrassment after hearing them from junior staffers, but Massa denied doing anything improper.
A lawyer for Racalto told Politico that the money was a “deferred payment” for Racalto’s work on Massa’s transition, after being elected in 2008. “It was money owed to him for campaign services,” said the lawyer. “It was a deferred payment. He worked on the transition team.”
Politico separately reported today that two days before stepping down, Massa paid nearly $32,000 in campaign funds to GMAC for a “campaign car lease,” according to FEC records.
If Massa used campaign funds to buy a car for personal use, he could be in violation of restrictions on the use of campaign money.
Massa did not comment for either of the stories.