Mrs. Sutton has made a name for herself pushing for lobbying reforms since she came to Congress four years ago. Her congressional Web page says she has taken action to “break the ties between politicians in Washington and those who seek to buy their influence.”
According to the fundraising invitation, contributors at the event for Mrs. Sutton hosted by Mr. Weinfurter were asked to give up to $5,000 for a political action committee or $2,500 for an individual, with checks made out to Betty Sutton for Congress.
The invitation was obtained by the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation, which monitors fundraising by members of Congress and posts about events online to shed additional light on how money flows to congressional candidates. Lawmakers aren’t required to disclose information about the fundraisers they hold other than the donations they collect. The Washington Times has confirmed Mrs. Sutton’s attendance at the event.
Mrs. Sutton was appointed to the House Armed Services Committee in January. That committee oversees the Department of Defense, defense policy and military operations. She also serves on the House Natural Resources Committee.
Mr. Weinfurter recently lobbied the House on behalf of SAIC to monitor oversight hearings and on information-security issues, according to lobbying papers filed by the District-based KSCW Inc., of which he is president. In addition, he and other KSCW officials lobbied for the company on funding and health care matters.
A longtime staffer on Capitol Hill, he was chief of staff to Rep. Joe Moakley, Massachusetts Democrat, who served in Congress until his death in 2001. His company’s website says his recent projects include “securing educational appropriations, assisting small businesses to procure federal agency contracts and aiding defense-technology firms in receiving federal funding for research.”
Politicians have been raising money across Washington in bars, restaurants and private town houses and at sporting events. With the first quarter for reporting election contributions approaching, the flurry of last-minute fundraising will help politicians boost their campaign bank accounts before their campaign finances become public.
“Since Jan. 4, 2007, the first day I was sworn into office, I have worked hard to ensure that people are placed ahead of lobbyists and the public interest is placed before the special interests,” she said after the House Appropriations Committee last year banned earmark requests to for-profit entities.
When the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act passed a key legislative hurdle in 2007, Mrs. Sutton said the legislation would increase accountability by requiring lobbyists to disclose donations to members of Congress and to lawmakers’ pet charities.
“This bill focuses on sanitizing the relationship that lobbyists have with Congress,” Mrs. Sutton said. “Through increased public disclosure, we will shed much light on the money trail from lobbyists to Capitol Hill.”
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
Jim McElhatton is an investigative reporter for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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