March 22, 2023

SUSPICIOUS: Questions surround senator’s $300K payments to GOP pundit’s relative

SUSPICIOUS: Questions surround senator's $300K payments to GOP pundit's relative

- Advertisement Above -

That Independent Senator Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) allocated hundreds of thousands of dollars to security is less curious than the bulk of the money that was paid to former Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s (HI) sister for “security.”

Federal Election Committee filings show the former Democrat’s campaign spent over $300,000 on the Arizona-based security agency, TOA Group, which lists Vrindavan Gabbard Bellord as its sole officer.

Sen. Sinema is reportedly the only client for the company.

“Since fall 2021, Bellord has been exclusively employed as the ‘security director’ in Sinema’s Senate office,” The Daily Beast reported.

Bellord has also apparently been the exclusive security provider to Sinema’s campaign. She appears to have no other clients aside from the Arizona senator.

Former campaign finance attorney, Saurav Ghosh, warns that the amount paid to Bellord is “eye-opening.”

“It’s interesting from the perspective of optics, more than legality. It’s always questionable whether someone is providing real, legitimate security services, or whether this is a sweetheart deal.” – Ghosh, Campaign Legal Center

Gabbard and Sinema formed a friendship when the freshman legislators were both sworn in back in 2013.

Sponsored Links

In 2015, Senator Sinema visited the West Hawaii Veterans Cemetery with Army National Guard veteran Gabbard in the former congresswoman’s native state.

The pair also served together on a fundraising committee from 2013-2014.

Sponsored Links

The Gabbard sisters reportedly shared an apartment in D.C. at the time, when Bellord was working as a United States Marshall.

Bellord has been a staunch supporter of her sister.

The former U.S. Marshall frequently posted on Gabbard’s Twitter account in defense of what she felt was a slight by mainstream media – particularly in the 2020 Democratic Presidential primary.

According to a New York magazine article on Tulsi Gabbard, the Iraq war veteran referred to her sister as “a key member of her brain trust.”

Bellord received a hefty salary of over $50,000 from the Sinema campaign – but it pales in comparison to the perks paid out under the guise of “security.”

“Sinema’s campaign committee and personal PAC have spent over $240,000 on other security-related expenses–airfare, lodging, meals and other benefits for ‘security detail,’ The Daily Beast wrote.

Bellord is alleged to have received additional benefits from campaign expenses unrelated to the job she was credited with.

Days before the security professional posted an Instagram photo showcasing two bikes with large wheels, Sen. Sinema’s personal PAC  paid close to $100 to a Park City, UT company for a “fat bike” tour.

“Thanks to our friend,” Belford responded to her sister, Gabbard, on the post – followed by a winking emoji.

Sinema also liked the social media post.

The U.S. Senator is hardly the only member of congress to spend significant amounts of money on security.

A rise in violent rhetoric and actions has prompted legislators on both sides of the aisle to step up their protection efforts, however, money allocated to expenses like travel and lodging raises questions.

While it’s not unusual for campaigns to designate monies for security, the fact that Sen. Sinema is TOA’s only known client is a red flag for those paying attention.

Both Sinema and Gabbard have denounced the Democratic Party – publicly criticizing the party’s progressive direction and kowtowing to the partisan antics of those on the right.

Though Gabbard took a hard-right turn in her support of Putin’s war and pushing of nationalist ideologies, aside from being a vocal supporter of her sister – Bellord has remained tight-lipped on where she stands politically.

Since 2014, Bellord has been registered as a Democrat in the District of Columbia, though the former U.S. Marshall lists Texas as her current state of residence.

Sen. Sinema has yet to announce a run for re-election in 2024, but it may not matter.

Criticism from Democrats and constituents alike has seen the once-progressive Senator’s political currency wane.

Ruben Gallego (D) has announced he’s primarying the attention-seeking performative politician.

Sponsored Links

Despite backlash from those who accuse Sen. Sinema of selling out the American people for corporate interests, Gabbard has remained loyal to her former congressional colleague.

“What I’ve told her directly and personally is hold your ground and put the American people first,” Gabbard said in an Oct. 2021 Fox News appearance.

Sinema didn’t get that memo.

Original reporting by Sam Brody at The Daily Beast.

Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick

Ty Ross

News journalist for Washington Press and Occupy Democrats.

Sponsored Links