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U.S. Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky is defending his use of campaign funds to pay his daughter to organize his election finance paperwork and to keep track of the money donated to his political action committee.

The hiring of relatives by Bunning and dozens of other federal lawmakers to handle campaign finances came to light this week in a report by a Washington government watchdog group called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics.  

While the practice is not illegal, the group says there should be better oversight as to whether the relatives are qualified to handle the work.

Bunning says he pays his daughter, Amy Towles, about $23,000 per year to do the work, which he considers a bargain.

“It’s perfectly legal and legitimate, and I surely don’t overpay her.  In fact, it looks like I underpay her, “Bunning said during a Tuesday conference call with reporters.

The Republican lawmaker says his daughter is more than qualified for the job, which she began doing on a volunteer basis 15 years ago, when Bunning was a member of the U.S. House.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation."