The campaign of Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) has paid his daughter, Ayla, and her musical groups $9,500 since December 2010 to play at campaign-related events.
Ayla, the older of Brown's two daughters, is a former American Idol semifinalist who has branched out with a musical career of her own. Compensation for her participation at her father's campaign events is legal according to federal election law, though the statute also allows for her to volunteer her services.
The Boston Globe reports:
The Brown campaign could not say what portion of the performance fees went to Ayla Brown and how much went to those they described as her bandmates. Nor could it say how many people played in her backup band.
But the campaign said in a statement that it paid Ayla Brown in part to avoid putting those bandmates in an awkward situation, by asking them to volunteer at a political event.
"Everything was done properly and in full compliance with [Federal Election Commission] regulations," campaign manager Jim Barnett said in a statement. "It is far more impractical to sort out any individual band member's relatively small cut of the compensation and reimbursement than to simply pay the band the fair market value for their services. It would have been entirely inappropriate to suggest to other band members that they donate their professional services to the father of their lead singer."
Politico provides the specifics on the payments to Brown's daughter and her bandmates, filed in his FEC reports:
The Brown campaign made three payments to Ambient Entertainment, the company that represents Ayla Brown, since the end of 2010 -- $5,000 on Dec. 3, 2010, $500 on Oct. 5, 2011 and $4,000 on Dec. 7, 2011, for a grand total of $9,500, according to 2010 and 2011 FEC filings.
Brown's daughters have been put in the spotlight by their father before on the campaign trail, perhaps most memorably -- and awkwardly -- during his victory speech when he proudly announced that they were both "available."
Soon after that, a picture of Brown and his daughters decked out in their finest Hawaiian-wear surfaced on the internet.