Tulsi Gabbard's old presidential campaign committee appears to fall victim to thieves making unauthorized Airbnb charges

  • Gabbard’s committee flagged unauthorized charges from Airbnb.
  • The committee didn’t refer the matter to law enforcement after negotiating with Airbnb.
  • Gabbard converted her presidential committee into a political action committee in September.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s 2020 presidential campaign committee appears to have been struck by thieves who stole more than $8,000 and spent the money on Airbnb bookings.

The unauthorized charges, disclosed this week in a letter to the Federal Election Commission, are the latest in a string of thefts that have recently befallen political committees of all stripes. 

Thieves stole at least $2.7 million from federal committees during the last election cycle alone, Insider reported in February. Among the committees hit: President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, the Wisconsin Republican Party, and the political action committees of notable corporations, unions, and trade associations.

Read more: Thieves stole at least $2.7 million from federal political committees during the 2020 election cycle. Biden’s campaign got hit, too.

Gabbard’s committee noticed the “unexpected and large” charge in October and concluded after an internal investigation that “no person associated with the campaign had authorized the charge,” wrote Erika Tsuji, treasurer for Tulsi Aloha, the successor political action committee to Gabbard’s presidential campaign, Tulsi Now. 

“After a long period of negotiations and consistent follow up with Airbnb the funds were finally returned to the Committee in October,” Tsuji wrote. “Since the matter was eventually resolved with Airbnb there was no referral to law enforcement.”

Representatives for Gabbard’s Tulsi Aloha committee did not immediately respond to inquiries. A representative for Airbnb did not immediately have information about the matter’s resolution. 

Gabbard, a Democrat who represented Hawaii in the US House from 2013 until early January, raised about $14.5 million toward her 2020 presidential campaign, according to federal records.

Her candidacy, however, never captured significant interest — she earned just two Democratic primary delegates — beyond a small and vocal following attracted to her often anti-war and anti-interventionism policy positions that sometimes cut against mainstream liberal orthodoxy. 

For example, Gabbard in September sponsored a resolution urging the federal government to drop all charges against Edward Snowden, a former government contractor leaked highly classified information from the National Security Agency. 

The resolution, which never received a vote, was co-sponsored by Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida and former Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, a Libertarian. 

Gabbard converted her presidential campaign into a PAC in September, which gives the former congresswoman a vehicle to support other, like-minded candidates and otherwise engage in political advocacy now that she’s out of elected office.

Axel Springer, Insider Inc.’s parent company, is an investor in Airbnb.

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