Krysten Sinema's $$$ Security Detail Just Tulsi Gabbard's Sister ... We're Sure That's Legit.
The Federal Election Commission ruled last year that members of Congress can hire bodyguards with campaign funds. That was a reasonable response to an alarming increase in threats against lawmakers, their families, and staff. House members will also receive up to $10,000 to upgrade security in their homes.
This grim new reality isn't a total bummer. It does offer some potential grifting opportunities. This brings us to our favorite plucky independent, Krysten Sinema from the Sinema Party. The Daily Beast reports that the senator from Arizona spends more of her considerable campaign funds on personal security than any other Congress member — an estimated $560,000 since late 2021. Sure, an armed man showed up outside Rep. Pramila Jayapal's Seattle house shouting racist obscenities. However, Sinema was almost forced to interact with her own constituents, who weren't even carrying oversized novelty checks. The horror!
\u201cVOTER: \u201cWhy will you only meet with wealthy donors & lobbyists, not constituents? Will you meet with my family? Arizona is getting hotter, what will you do about climate?\u201d \n\n@SenatorSinema: "DON\u2019T TOUCH ME."\n\n(While walking with Republican Tim Scott) \ud83e\udd14\ud83c\udf0d\nhttps://t.co/eIdIRvnr6k\u201d— The Tennessee Holler (@The Tennessee Holler) 1635212728
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema Always Looking Out For Struggling Constituents, Like Kyrsten Sinema
Kyrsten Sinema Working Hard To Finish Fourth In Three-Way Senate Race
Federal campaign finance filings reveal that Sinema’s campaign committees have paid $307,000 in security expenses to an Arizona-registered entity called TOA Group LLC. According to official documents, TOA Group LLC is a slightly unusual organization. It has just one officer: Vrindivan Gabbard Bellord. And, yes, Bellord is the sister and sometime spokesperson for former Democrat turned Russian propagandist Tulsi Gabbard.
The connection isn't totally random. Gabbard and Sinema are old buddies who served in the House together. Here's a quick and nauseating paragraph from DuJour's 2014 article "The Gifts of Gabbard."
In Washington, Gabbard’s striking looks make her a standout against Congress’ tableau of white men in dark suits. Kyrsten Sinema, a young Democrat from Arizona, was impressed the first time they met, at an event honoring women leaders under 40. “She’s beautiful, of course,” Sinema recalls. “But I was struck by how calm she is, and super cool. She really represents her state.”
You know what they say about "frauds of a feather."
Bellord, a former US marshal and the body woman for her sister's 2020 laugh riot campaign, has been the “security director” in Sinema’s office since fall 2021, for which she's paid
$1 million $50,000. That doesn't seem like a lot to keep a sitting US senator alive. Public servants, which Sinema technically is, aren't paid a whole lot but they have to compete with Kardashians for security detail. You might want to add at least another zero. After all, you need Liam Neeson in Taken training to keep people from following Sinema into a public bathroom.
Note also that Bellord is the exclusive security provider to Sinema’s campaign and apparently has no other clients. However, Sinema’s campaign committee and personal PAC have shelled out more than $240,000 on airfare, lodging, meals, and other "benefits" that are classified as "security-related expenses." Hmmm ...
In 2022, Sinema’s campaigns spent over $56,000 for security detail lodging at Marriott hotels alone. Notably, there are also two separate charges totaling over $100,000 for “security detail vehicle.”
Bellord may have also benefited from Sinema campaign expenses that were not listed as specifically security-related. In February 2022, Sinema’s personal PAC paid $95 to a “fat bike” tour company in Park City, Utah. Days before, Bellord posted a photo to Instagram showing two bikes—with fat wheels—in snowy mountain surroundings. In response to a comment from Gabbard, Bellord said, “thanks to our friend,” with a winky-face emoji. (Sinema liked the post.)
Wow, nothing says, "This is so not sketchy!" like the winky-face emoji!
Saurav Ghosh, a former campaign finance attorney now at the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, said the $300,000-plus that Bellord received from Sinema was “eye-opening." He also considers it a red flag that Sinema is Bellord's only apparent client. Arizona's other senator, Mark Kelly, reportedly spent $562,000 on security over the past two years, but that sum is spread out over roughly a dozen people, several of whom are former law enforcement officers, not just his friend's sibling. He also hasn't paid exorbitant amounts for his security detail's meals, lodgings, or "fat bike" rentals.
Other campaign finance law experts agree that Sinema and Bellord's previously unreported arrangement raises serious ethics concerns that the senator should explain, but Sinema never explains herself to anyone. That's part of her problem.
Follow Stephen Robinson on Twitter if it still exists.
Did you know SER has his own YouTube Channel? Well, now you do, so go subscribe right now!
Subscribe to the Wonkette YouTube Channel for nifty video content!
Click the widget to keep your Wonkette ad-free and feisty.
Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."