Kari Lake uses campaign donations to pay her family business, financial records show

Kari Lake uses campaign donations to pay her family business, financial records show

Kari Lake speaks during a television interview before Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives at a primary election night party in Nashua, N.H., Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

By Camaron Stevenson

March 6, 2024

Arizona US Senate Candidate Kari Lake’s recent financial disclosures reveal the former news anchor has taken advantage of both internal and external opportunities to increase her personal wealth.

In addition to bringing in over $75,000 in speaking fees for appearances at political events in 2023, ZenVideo, a business owned by Lake and her husband, Jeff Halperin, was paid just over $8,000 from her campaign for video production services, according to the Federal Elections Commission.

The payment shows a sharp rate increase from Lake’s campaign for governor. During her first run for office, Lake’s campaign paid ZenVideo $2,200 for its services for the entirety of the race. This time around, her campaign has used supporters’ donations to pay her family’s company nearly quadruple that for four months of work.

Halperin is known to be a staple of Lake’s political work. Often seen at her side with a camera, his videos are used as social media posts to promote her campaigns. And, while Lake has solicited the services of other video production companies for her Senate run—$5,500 to AZ Media, Inc., and $550 to Charles Lemmon Cinematography—the lion’s share of her video production budget has been reserved for family.

The tendency to keep campaign funds in the family was first noted by The Arizona Republic in 2022. But when Lake was asked by reporter Stacey Barchenger about whether she would keep taxpayer dollars separate from family bank accounts should she be elected to office, she sidestepped the question.

“Reporters trying to play gotcha and draw lines between non-issues like this and something totally unrelated only happens to Republicans,” Lake said. “Arizona needs a genuine leader committed to improving the lives of all of our citizens, not another career insider dedicated to lining the pockets of their friends.”

Neither Lake’s former opponent, Gov. Katie Hobbs, nor her current rival for US Senate, Rep. Ruben Gallego, has a record of hiring or paying family members, according to finance reports.

In addition to speaking fees and production services, Lake’s political connections earned her a consulting contract with Superfeed Technologies that paid her over $100,000 over a 15-month span in 2021 and 2022. The company, which creates apps for right-leaning political organizations like Turning Point USA and the Arizona Republican Party (ARP), was led by former ARP chair Jeff DeWit during Lake’s tenure as a consultant.

Lake also received a $100,000 advance payment from Winning Team Publishing for her 2023 book, “Unafraid.” Winning Team Publishing is known for distributing books by far-right media figures and politicians like Georgia US Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Fox News host Judge Jeanne Pirro.

Author

  • Camaron Stevenson

    Camaron is the Founding Editor and Chief Political Correspondent for The Copper Courier, and has worked as a journalist in Phoenix for over a decade. He also teaches multimedia journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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