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Chicago mayor defends campaign spending $30K on hair, makeup

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(The Center Square) – Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson is defending spending a reported $30,000 on hair and makeup from his campaign coffers.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported last week Johnson’s campaign spent $30,000 on hair and makeup in one year. During a wide ranging news conference Wednesday, Johnson was asked about the “awkward elephant in the room” and said he supports small businesses.

“We’ll make sure that you know I encourage all of you in this room, support small businesses,” Johnson said. “Go get your hair and makeup done by Black people in particular.”

Using records from the Illinois State Board of Elections, campaign finance tracker Illinois Sunshine shows the Friends of Brandon Johnson candidate committee spent $4,000 at Anthony Jones Salon on “event expenses,” and $23,375 at Makeup Majic for “event expenses” in the past year.

It wasn’t just hair and makeup expenses Johnson defended.

“Our campaign spends money on food,” Johnson said. “We support Black and brown owned businesses, women owned businesses. Printing. There are a number of things that my campaign spends dollars on.”

To those who question such spending, Johnson said everyone has their own opinions.

“If they don’t believe it’s a good use to support small businesses, Black and brown businesses, that is something that they’ll have to deal with when they meet their maker,” Johnson said.

Illinois campaign finance law states campaign committees are prohibited from spending on certain things. Included in the prohibition is spending on clothing or personal laundry expenses, “except clothing items rented by the public official or candidate for his or her own use exclusively for a specific campaign related event.” The lease or purchase of a motor vehicle is prohibited, “unless the political committee can demonstrate the vehicle will be used primarily for campaign purposes or for the performance of governmental duties.” Hair and makeup are not included in the list of prohibitions.

Prodded further on the issue of his campaign spending on hair and makeup on associates too, Johnson doubled down on supporting small businesses.

“Whomever we are investing in, whether they are providing hair, makeup, food or any other service to our campaign, we are working within the framework of the law and I will continue to do that,” Johnson said.

Former Mayor Lori Lightfoot stepped into controversy about her hair when she had a stylist visit her personal residence during the first weeks of the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders in 2020.

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