FEC votes to allow congressional candidate to use campaign funds for child care

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The Federal Election Commission on Thursday voted unanimously to allow a Democratic New York congressional candidate to earmark campaign funds for child-care expenses, a move considered a “game changer” for mothers eyeing a run for office.

Liuba Grechen Shirley is running in a Democratic primary in the Long Island district currently represented by Republican Rep. Peter King.

The FEC had previously permitted tapping campaign funds for “occasional” child care, but the 36-year-old candidate required more consistent care for her 2- and 3-year-old children as she ran for office.

“This is a game changer for moms and working parents across the country who are thinking about running for office but don’t know how to juggle going without a salary and taking on the extra childcare expenses,” Grechen Shirley posted on Facebook.

The ruling is expected to apply to other candidates who want to use campaign funds for new child-care expenses that are created as the candidates run for office.

“It’s an added campaign expense, the same as opening an office or installing safety lights on a candidate’s house,” said Christina Reynolds, a spokeswoman for Emily’s List, a group working to help Democratic women run for office.

Before running for Congress, Grechen Shirley worked from home as consultant and cared for her children full time. Her husband works full time. Since March, she has paid a babysitter $22 an hour from campaign funds to watch her two children, according to Newsday.

"The ruling came in just in time for Mother's Day, which is pretty incredible," she told reporters on a conference call.

The Associated Press contributed to this report