AMITYVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — If Liuba Grechen Shirley is to realize her dream and run for Congress, she says she’s going to need a little help.
“My children were the biggest reason I wanted to run and the biggest reason holding me back,” she told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan.
Grechen Shirley plans to take part in this summer’s Democratic primary, which will eventually produce a challenger to incumbent Long Island Republican Peter King. However, she’d first like the Federal Election Commission to render an opinion on whether she can use election funds to pay for her child care.
An NYU scholar, global development expert, wife and mother of two, Grechen Shirley has raised $126,000 for her campaign. She says her husband and her mom help on nights and weekends and she’s still paying back some loans from her MBA.
She asked the FEC to use some of her campaign funds on a babysitter as she prepares for her primary showdown against DuWayne Gregory in the June 26 primary.
“To run for office is a full-time job with no salary,” she told McLogan. “I want to be able to use my campaign funds to pay for child care. It’s a first step to making sure we have working Americans and parents running for office.”
Some students at Farmingdale State College are studying the issue.
“It will really be interesting to see what the FEC has to say about that,” Social Scientist Eva Pearson said. “There’s a case in Louisiana from 1995 that sets precedence for this as well as a 2008 case here in New York.”
Those cases both involved men. Pearson believes the FEC’s decision on Grechen Shirley’s case will have implications for every candidate across the country.
DuWayne Gregory’s campaign called Grechen Shirley’s request a slippery slope.
“Ethics rules exist for serious reasons, and using campaign funds for personal expenses is a very slippery slope,” Gregory spokeswoman Daniele de Groot said in a statement. “There must be stark, bold lines when it comes to campaign and government funds.”
The FEC is expected to issue its opinion on the precedent-setting case within 60 days.