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Vulnerable Democratic senator spends thousands in campaign dollars on fundraising trip to Europe


He's actually taken in a lot of money from overseas donors

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Vulnerable Democratic Sen. Doug Jones (Ala.) dropped more than $3,000 in campaign funds to visit some swanky European hotels in an effort to court donations from American Democrats living abroad.

According to Federal Election Commission numbers reported by Fox News on Sunday, the expensive getaway took place in December:

The Alabama Democrat spent $487 to stay at the K+K Hotel Cayre in Paris, billed as "a beautiful historic building located in heart of Saint Germain Des Prés" that's within walking distance to Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. The hotel boasts "soundproofed" luxury rooms and private black marble bathrooms with underfloor heating.

The red-state politician up for reelection in November also spent $1,296 at the Baglioni Hotel in London, which describes itself as "one of the finest 5-star luxury hotels in London" that's located in "one of the most exclusive, elegant and celebrated parts of the city."

Jones' getaway included $1,164 spent on Eurostar rail travel and $533.66 for Easy Jet airfare in England, according to campaign reports that Jones filed with the Federal Election Commission on Feb. 20.

The report adds that Jones' campaign-funded trip was related to a reception in Paris hosted by Democrats Abroad, which is "the official Democratic Party arm for the millions of Americans living outside the United States."

And while Democrats Abroad chronicled the senator's appearance at the early December event on the organization's website with pictures of attendees with the senator along with a glowing description of the evening, Fox reported, it appears that the information about the event has since been taken down, though the URL still mentions Jones and the event.

"Senator Jones came to Paris to support Democrats Abroad! As he explained, the race to hold his seat is going to be tough. Every vote will count! Senator Jones knows the importance of the overseas vote. In tight races, Democrats Abroad is the margin of victory!" the website description initially said, according to Fox. A Facebook event page for the reception indicates that it took place Dec. 7.

"Republican and Democratic candidates for the U.S. House and Senate often meet with Americans living abroad during their travels around the world. Any fundraising is required to be reported to the FEC and will be detailed in candidates' FEC reports," read an emailed statement from Democrats abroad to Fox. "By law, Republican and Democratic candidates may only accept contributions from American citizens."

Jones is no stranger to expat fundraising. This time last year the vulnerable incumbent made headlines for reporting more campaign donations from Americans living abroad that people actually living in the state he's representing during the final quarter of 2018. During that time period, the Yellowhammer News reported, Jones took in $55,000 from inside Alabama while raking in $48,000 from donors in the United Kingdom, $17,270 from donors in France, $5,500 from donors in Belgium, and $5,400 from Hong Kong donations, among others. During that quarter he was also slated to appear at a reception in Geneva, Switzerland, where top-line recommended contributions were over $5,400.

Jones was elected to the Senate during the 2017 Alabama special Senate election that was thrown into chaos by sexual misconduct allegations against the Republican nominee, Roy Moore. He is now widely viewed as the upper chamber's most vulnerable incumbent in November's general election, a position further cemented by his recent vote to impeach President Donald Trump and his laughing off of a question about late-term abortion last month.

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