Lawmakers recess for cash
With Congress out of session, USA Today reporter Fredreka Schouten reports today that lawmakers are taking their fundraising to ritzy locales. Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) invites guests to the Snake River Lodge & Spa near Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) asks his donors to a weekend in Vail. And Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) is holding a fundraiser at Honolulu's Waikiki Beach. (Here's another ski weekend not mentioned in the story: a fundraiser in Park City, Utah for Republican Sen. Robert Bennett.)
From Schouten's story:
Aides to the lawmakers said the events are driven by the need to raise growing amounts of campaign money. House and Senate candidates raised nearly $1.4 billion to fund campaigns in 2008, up from roughly $1 billion eight years earlier, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics.
"Almost every member of Congress is fundraising all the time," said Julie DeWoody, the finance director of Perlmutter's campaign. "It's the reality of running for office and how expensive campaigns are."
Schouten also points out what we've often noted here--that the 2007 ethics laws that bars members of Congress from accepting most gifts, travel and pricey meals does not extend to fundraising.