When citizens donate to a campaign, they largely expect their contributions, large or small, to be spent on supplies the candidate can use to engage with voters, things like yard signs, advertisements, campaign staff, etc., but the most recent campaign finance reports reveal two incumbent politicians are dipping into their accounts to pay for their own wheels.
According to San Antonio Republican State Rep. Lyle Larson’s finance report, the lawmaker has been paying $647.76 every month to Ford for a “vehicle lease for campaign/officeholder use.”

While it is possible Larson could be paying for an additional vehicle for his campaign, vehicle registration reports show that Larson drives a Ford truck as his primary vehicle, complete with state official license plates.
This questionable campaign spending is interesting coming from Larson, who has repeatedly attacked Gov. Greg Abbott on ethics. While Abbott has been an aggressive advocate for greater ethics reform for all government officials, Larson has repeatedly pushed for greater disclosures on everyone other than himself
But Larson is not the only legislator paying for a car out of their campaign account.
State Sen. Craig Estes (R–Wichita Falls) is paying General Motors an astonishing $1,658.13 per month for his “campaign vehicle.” Like Larson, Estes’ personal vehicle matches the payee, as he drives a Denali-trimmed GMC Yukon, a luxury SUV that retails at $80,000 or more, depending on optional features.

Candidates using their campaign funds as personal slush funds to pay for their lifestyle is nothing new. In 2016, former State Rep. Doug Miller came under fire for refusing to respond to allegations he was paying for a “Campaign Camaro” with $800 a month out of his campaign account.
Miller went on to lose his runoff race against Kyle Biedermann. 
Both lawmakers are facing difficult re-election bids against conservative challengers. Larson is being challenged by Hollywood Park gun store owner Chris Fails, while Estes will be facing State Rep. Pat Fallon (Frisco) in the Republican primary.
Texas Scorecard has reached out to both campaigns for comment but has not received responses as of publishing. This article will be updated to reflect any responses, should they be received.

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens