Juan Vargas used campaign funds to buy a car and insurance.
As the Union-Tribune continues to scour the campaign fund of Republican congressman Duncan Hunter for more of the kind of spending that has gotten him into hot water with House ethics police and the Justice Department, the political expenses of a safe-seated South Bay House Democrat have remained under the radar.
Recent disclosure records show that Juan Vargas has used campaign cash to pay for everything from a $39,785 “vehicle purchase” at San Diego Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram on April 3 and $2912 worth of car insurance from Farmers on May 2, to $1400 for “house dues/capital assessments” at the posh National Democratic Club on March 20. In addition, the Vargas reelection fund forked over $4000 for off-year “general campaign consulting” on February 14 to Sinergia Development Consulting of San Diego, which state corporation records say is run by Timothy S. Walsh, Vargas’s chief of staff in Washington and onetime campaign manager for Nathan Fletcher’s failed 2013 bid to become San Diego mayor.
Walsh, who has been paid about $40,000 per quarter in the House job, was named to the San Diego Housing Commission by Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer this past April. According to Walsh’s May 24 city conflict-of-interest filing, Sinergia, valued at less than $2000, has grossed between $10,000 and $100,000 from the Vargas for Congress committee.