June 20, 2007
NOW THAT CONGRESS HAS BEEN BOUGHT AND PAID FOR, let's start renting out the staff!
Uncle Chuck Wants You!
That's the message jumping out of the latest fundraising letter sent out from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, chaired by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.). [Click the image to the right to see the full text.]
This invite first appeared (in print only) in Jeffrey Birnbaum's K Street column in Tuesday's Washington Post, but Capitol Briefing can add a few notable details. Read the fine print and you'll see that senators aren't the draw at this event, slated for July 10 at the DSCC's Mott House across the street from the Capitol.
Officially, lobbyists are asked to give or raise $2,000 to be a "host" or $1,000 to be a "DSCC friend" in order to meet "individuals representing" Senate Democrats. That's code word for chiefs of staff and staff directors of committees, according to lobbyists who received the fundraising pitch. The image of the invite that was e-mailed to Capitol Briefing included the file name of "chiefs invitation".
It's part of what some lobbyists say is an emerging technique in fundraising by the campaign committees -- gathering a group of top advisers to lawmakers rather than the principals themselves. Lobbyists say they've heard that later this year House Democratic chiefs of staff will be the draw at a fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
It's legal, but it's just more evidence that they're all for sale. Or rent. What's next? Congressional puts and calls?
I'm actually in favor of this. With members of Congress spending most of their time fundraising, most actual lawmaking work has devolved to the staff. So if we can get the staff busy fundraising, too, maybe we'll just see less legislating overall. Which, based on recent performance, would pretty much have to be an improvement.