Saturday June 16, 2012 | 09:20 AM

Politico published a report Friday which detailed a recent meeting between independent candidate for U.S. Senate Angus King and Beltway lobbyists. 

According to the story, which quoted anonymous lobbyists, King essentially told the gathering not to support his campaign if they wanted a firm caucus commitment.

King has refused to say which party he'll caucus with, saying that his goal is to work with Republicans and Democrats. The GOP has said King is a closet Democrat and noted his endorsement of President Barack Obama (King backed George W. Bush in 2000).

From the story: 

“He said, ‘Don’t give if that’s what you’re looking for,’” the lobbyist said. “It was, this is what I’m about, this is who I am, and if you’re interested in supporting me — great.”

Another lobbyist who heard King speak said King “made it clear he hasn’t decided and isn’t announcing who he would caucus with if he gets elected.” Both Democratic and Republican lobbyists and potential donors were present at King’s events.

Continued:

Even with King’s no-caucus-guarantees line, one lobbyist explained that donors could still make some reasonable assumptions about what kind of causes he’d represent as a senator.

“You have to sit there and think that no matter which side he’s on, he’s going to end up being one of those people you can go to and will be either a pro-business, liberal Republican or a conservative Democrat,” the lobbyist said.

The Politico report advances the King-caucus debate, but critics of Maine's former governor will also likely attack him for holding a secret meeting with D.C. lobbyists, which many have argued, are complicit in the dysfunctional Congress that King claims he can fix. 

 

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Steve Mistler covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.

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