Skip to comments.Why Eric Cantor chose Bobby Vanís
Posted on 06/11/2014 9:44:04 PM PDT by nickcarraway
Tabs at fancy D.C. steakhouses and the high overhead for Eric Cantors campaign drew plenty of mockery in the aftermath of his primary loss.
But lobbyists and other big donors generally dont cut $5,000 checks over a barbacoa burrito bowl.
Cantors campaign and leadership PAC spent about $170,000 at classic D.C. powerhouse restaurants including Bobby Vans Steakhouse and BLT Steak, according to FEC records. By comparison, his primary opponent Dave Brat spent about $122,000 in his entire campaign.
Its rare that you would see a fundraiser at a Ruby Tuesday or a Chipotle, said Lisa Spies, a veteran GOP fundraiser who worked on run Mitt Romneys Jewish and female outreach programs. Youve got to spend money to raise money.
In the 2014 cycle, all federal candidates have spent just over $9,000 on Chipotle, and $1,229 at Ruby Tuesday, according to numbers compiled by CQ Moneyline. In the same span, they have spent more than $400,000 at Bobby Vans.
Overall, Cantors campaign raked in nearly $5.5 million in the 2014 cycle, and his leadership PAC took in another $3.5 million in the same time period. But his time and efforts werent solely to help his re-election campaign in his Richmond, Virginia-area district they were chits for a future speakership race. Building relationships with candidates and members and helping spread the wealth was part of a potential bid to lead the GOP House caucus.
Cantor maintained an extensive fundraising schedule that took him and his staff all over the country. In 2013 and 2014, his leadership PAC gave more than double what House Speaker John Boehners leadership PAC gave to fellow GOP candidates, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Hes been among the top donors and fundraisers on behalf of other GOP candidates since 2006.
I think the party is definitely going to be losing one of its top two fundraisers in the House, said Jeff Burton, a consultant and lobbyist who previously led the National Republican Congressional Committees Young Guns program founded by Cantor.
Aside from Boehner, Burton said, no other member of Congress in the Republican Party comes to close to Cantor in terms of being a cash magnet and a fundraising draw.
Federal Election Commission records show the Cantor campaign paid for event catering in cities like Boca Raton, Los Angeles, Richmond, Manhattan, Las Vegas, Palm Beach, Fla. Atlanta, Denver, Beverly Hills, Calif., and elsewhere. His campaign finance reports show hotel stays in Georgia, California, Florida, Nevada, New York and other fundraising hotspots in the weeks leading up to his election.
Beyond his steakhouse habit, Cantors campaign finance reports show a hodgepodge of catering expenses at other D.C. haunts including Rosa Mexicano, Johnnys Half Shell and Capitol Hill Club. Outisde the Beltway, reports include payments toSine Irish Pub in Richmond, Va., barbecue from Shawns Smokehouse and Smokin Eddies BBQ in Virginia, and catering and lodging at the Beverly Hills Hotel & Bungalows in California.
On Tuesday morning, instead of knocking on doors in his district, he was at a Capitol Hill Starbucks, helping raise money for three GOP lawmakers (Starbucks is considered an acceptable fundraising spot despite its limited menu options).
Cantor also had two events for the Young Guns candidate recruitment program on his schedule in May and June including one just weeks before his election. And hes also scheduled to do a fundraiser for congressional candidate Lee Zeldin this week a fundraiser that the Zeldin campaign insists is still moving forward.
Bottom line is, when youre in a leadership post, youre expected to do things well beyond your own campaign, said Democratic fundraiser Michael Fraioli.
Fraioli said it was a no-brainer to invest heavily in wooing donors by putting together expensive and often exclusive events. For Cantor and the Republicans, they brought in much more than they cost.
Whenever youre raising that kind of money, youre not going to do it all at the cattle calls, Fraioli said.
Hill Republicans were grateful on Wednesday to Cantors work helping build the party from his creation of Young Guns candidate in 2007 to his present-day fundraising efforts.
Chairman [Greg] Walden is truly grateful for Leader Cantors support of the NRCC and Republican candidates. His work on behalf of the Young Guns program has been vital to growing our majority and electing a new generation of conservative leaders, said NRCC spokeswoman Andrea Bozek.
But critics of money in politics said that the window into Cantors extensive fundraising world shows the problems with the current system of money in politics.
Youre entertaining donors that expect to be treated like royalty, said Nick Nyhart, president of the group Public Citizen a watchdog organization that advocates for publicly financed campaigns. Its another symbol that the big money fundraising system creates an out of touch Congress.
The Cantor campaign and his congressional office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Meanwhile, we can’t afford beef hotdogs or brand name spam.
What’s wrong with Ruby Tueday? My golf group regularly held our annual dinner there. They reserved a banquet room for our group of 8 golfers plus spouses, and served a very nice dinner and drinks. The money came from our bets through the season and instead of handing the money to the winner of the day, we put in a pot for our annual dinner in Ruby Tuesday. They had the best salad bar, with 40 or 50 items.
You got that right.
Perhaps, but you certainly don't need to spend it to win elections, as Cantor found out. Maybe if Cantor had actually spent some time listening to his constituents, he wouldn't have to worry about running up huge tabs at fancy restaurants wining and dining lobbyists only to end up looking like a fool.
Politico Goes to Pot While Ignoring IRS Scandal Developments
By Tom Blumer | July 27, 2013 | 09:56
Pretty much all you need to know about the current negligent media culture in Washington is summed up in two items involving the Politico’s home page this morning — one which is there, and one which isn’t.
The featured story at top of the home page by Byron Tau is about infighting between “Big Marijuana” — it seems like “Big Pot” would be a more succinct nickname — and those who want to extend recent electoral victories in legalizing the drug. What isn’t there on the home page, as confirmed in a word search, is any story with a headline or tease containing “IRS.”
Memo to POLITICOs Byron Tau: Pro-Business = Pro-Markets
Posted on October 18, 2013 by George Scoville
Writing today for POLITICO Influence, scribe Byron Tau describes a Washington Post story thus:
BUSINESS VS. THE TEA PARTY: Wholesaler-Distributors lobbyist Dirk Van Dongen calls the tea party caucus the Taliban minority. http://wapo.st/16UgvCu
This must be controversial because, so the conventional wisdom goes, Big Business loves Republicans, and so do, apparently, Tea Party movement activists. Therefore, if Big Business calls the Tea Party movement the Taliban minority, the Tea Party movement must be really bad.
This isnt, however, shocking not even a little bit.
Meanwhile veterans stand waiting for basic medical treatment and our neighborhoods decay...Job loses climb as waves of low illegals pour in...All this as big biz and wealthy political insiders wink and nod, flying in dining at high end Beverly Hills steak houses. Back room deals, friendly campaign bribes, all networking and bumping belly’s for personal gain and power.
Typical DC Elite. Spends over 100,000 for something that quickly turns into toilet bowl turds. Well hopefully they had some good Wine and Whisky.
Pajama Boy’s..... friend?
The writers are already running out of things to talk about with Cantor. For most of us, Cantor remained a mostly invisible presence on the periphery of the Congressional Sequestrations and rhetorical slugouts. Boehner was/is the front man for better or worse.
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