Video of high-dollar hobnobbing between freshmen GOP congressmen and big donors out today provides a disturbing close-up on the sad world of influence buying in this election cycle.
CBS News reported this morning on undercover footage of a fundraising trip at a private resort hosted for twelve first-term Republican congressmen by two House veterans, Spencer Bachus and Pete Sessions. The luxurious getaway spot features a secluded lagoon, three golf courses, and a selection of yachts for the well-to-do guests. Individuals wanting to purchase access to Congress could do so with, for example, a round of drinks, at the going rate of $10,000 – a steep price for a happy hour.
Never mind that several of the lawmakers grabbing at cash in Key Largo did so despite campaign promises two years ago that they would strictly base their policy on the priorities of the folks back home. It’s too bad for these congressmen that CBS crashed the party to expose the direct access that only the wealthiest interests can purchase, at the expense of average Americans.
If some would claim that these fundraisers constituted only benign weekend fun, don’t be fooled. Corruption was evident right in front of the camera. CBS was able to determine that at least one high-dollar guest was a lobbyist for the banking industry. It’s therefore no surprise that nine of the congressmen at Key Largo sit on the committee charged with regulating banks. The dots aren’t difficult to connect.
From the CBS report: “[W]e caught up with a select group of Republican freshmen, engaged in business as usual. But they didn't come alone. They invited big campaign donors and lobbyists to join them - for a price. And we secretly sent our cameras along for a unique inside look at their first joint fundraiser, where special interests got the kind of access ordinary Americans can only dream of: on the golf course; over drinks at the resort bar; at a private beach lagoon.”
And the list of the twelve GOP freshmen: “Sandy Adams (Fla.), Quico Canseco (Texas), Rick Crawford (Ark.), Bob Dold (Ill.), Sean Duffy (Wis.), Stephen Fincher (Tenn.), Mike Fitzpatrick (Penn.), Daniel Webster (Fla.), Mike Grimm (N.Y.), Nan Hayworth (N.Y.), Jim Renacci (Ohio) and Cory Gardner (Col).”
Check out the story below, or read more here.