- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A GOP congressman has publicly acknowledged that “pay-to-play” donor contributions affect how lawmakers vote.

Louisiana Rep. Vance McAllister talked last week about how “money controls Washington” during an event with a local accountants group, the Ouachita Citizen reports.

Mr. McAllister said that politicians in D.C. see their work as a “steady cycle of voting for fundraising and money instead of voting for what is right.”

However, he admitted that he had contributed to the stereotype, relating how a colleague told him to vote no on a bill related to the Bureau of Land Management in order to get a large contribution from conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation.

“I played dumb and asked him, ‘How would you vote?’” Mr. McAllister reportedly told the audience. “He told me, ‘Vote ‘no’ and you will get a $1,200 check from the Heritage Foundation. If you vote yes, you will get a $1,000 check from some environmental impact group.”

Mr. McAllister voted “no” on the bill, but did not receive a contribution; his colleague did.

The congressman, who is retiring this year after being caught on camera kissing a staffer, said that he wasn’t surprised the he didn’t get a check, as Gov. Bobby Jindal and Heritage are “upset” with him, the newspaper reported.

Campaign law bars the Heritage Foundation from making donations directly to candidates and political campaigns. However, its sister political activist arm, Heritage Action, is allowed to make political contributions.

Heritage spokesman James Weidman told the Louisiana newspaper that the think tank does not spend in elections and “would never do anything like that.”

“If [Mr. McAllister] is wondering why he didn’t receive a check from the Heritage Foundation, which does not make political expenditures of any kind, it is because we do not do it,” Mr. Weidman said. “The Heritage Foundation is a think tank and does research and education, but does not get involved with political bills at all.”