Thursday, April 24, 2014
Independent candidate for U.S. Senate Angus King is continuing his effort to woo Democratic campaign donors and lobbyists.
Washington D.C. power couple, and longtime Democratic supporters, Tony and Heather Podesta will hold a Capitol Hill fundraiser Wednesday evening and King will be the beneficiary. According to an invitation obtained by POLITICO, the event will take place at 5 p.m.
Attendees are expected to donate to King's campaign. According to the invitation, there are three level of donations, $500 to become a "supporter," $1,000 to become "a friend" and $2,500 to become a "host."
In addition to the Podestas, Izzy Klein, former aide to U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Democratic donor Nancy Jacobson (now with No Labels, a group advocating for elected officials who appeal to the center of the electorate) are also listed as hosts.
The Podestas, however, are the headliners. The couple was last year listed as among the top five lobbyist bundlers in the country by the Center for Public Integrity.
According to the 2011 story by CPI:
"The couple, already known as top-tier Democratic donors and lobbyists, appears back-to-back at the top of the (Federal Election Commission's) lobbyist bundler database. Both Podestas bundled over $320,000 each in just the first six months of (2011), blowing away the nearest competitor and setting themselves up to make an early impact in what is shaping up to be the most expensive political cycle in American history."
Watchdog groups argue that bundlers can use their deep pockets to obtain influence with politicians.
The Podesta Group in May hosted a fundraiser for benefiting GOP House Speaker John Boehner and other Republican representatives.
The Podesta fundraiser marks at least the second time that King has gone to D.C. to speak to lobbying groups.
Lance Dutson, the campaign manager for GOP U.S. Senate candidate Charlie Summers, suggested that King's participation in the fundraiser didn't square with his rhetoric about fixing Beltway politics.
"Frankly, I'm pretty confused about this," Dutson wrote in an email. "Angus has told the people of Maine that this kind of fundraising was ruining politics, but it appears he has had a major change of heart. I guess hobnobbing with DC lobbyists can have that effect on people, but I think the Maine voters deserve some kind of explanation."
Steve Mistler covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.