House Freshmen Caught in the Act

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On Friday, CBS News released an undercover investigation into a recent fundraiser for freshmen House Republicans at a luxury resort in Florida. The Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Fla. is “where we 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.” Or, as the Atlantic put it, “CBS News Captures Republicans at Their Most Thurston Howell”

The story made its way back home, highlighting for their constituents how quickly these freshmen members turned Washington.

  • A story in the Times-Herald Record in New York started, “A fundraising weekend at a posh Florida resort for Republican Rep. Nan Hayworth has provided a public relations gold mine for one of her Democratic challengers.”
  • A story on Ohio Rep. Jim Renacci mentions that, “The report shows Renacci driving a golf cart and eating dinner at the head of a large table at a restaurant 'with gourmet delights such as braised baby octopus and crispy duck confit.'"
  • This lead is probably not the one Rep. Cory Gardner’s office wants constituents to see: “Rep. Cory Gardner, who frequently vows to change Washington's culture, was one of 14 House Republicans who wined and dined lobbyists and other donors at an exclusive Florida resort this year, CBS reported Friday.” It was also picked up by the Colorado independent.
  • A headline in Houston reads, “Texas Rep. Quico Canseco slammed for special interest fundraising getaway."
  • Keystone Politics reports on Pennsylvania Rep. Mike FitzPatrick’s time at the fundraiser, saying that, “Keystone Politics is currently unsure what Fitzpatrick scored during his 54 holes of golf, nor can we confirm his menu choices at this time. We are speculating that his meal choice included goat cheese profiteroles, an arugula Caesar salad, and a swordfish meatloaf with onion marmalade for an entree.” You may remember that FitzPatrick was one of the two members of Congress that missed their swearing in because of a fundraiser.

A few more stories about this for Florida Reps. Sandy Adams and Dan Webster, Tennessee Rep. Stephen Fincher, and Wisconsin Rep. Sean Duffy.

Everyone has to raise money, but do they need to do it by flying with wealthy donors and lobbyists to a luxury resort in Florida? When people around the country are worrying about gas prices and getting the econony back on track, events like this make Congress look really out of touch.