12 House Members Have Emails At Fundraising Firm

An odd little thing happened a few months ago in the world of congressional fundraising. U.S. Representative Heath Shuler held a North Carolina BBQ, so that his constituents could come out and show their support – but the North Carolina BBQ wasn’t held in North Carolina. It took place in Washington D.C., at the headquarters of a company that specializes in facilitating meetings between members of Congress and corporate lobbyists.

heath shulerYou see, the constituents Congressman Shuler was interested in weren’t voters back home in the 11th congressional district of North Carolina. In this case, Shuler’s closest constituents were Washington D.C. power brokers.

Having a BBQ might seem folksy of Shuler, at first glance, but take a second glance and a very different picture emerges. It turns out that Shuler was was charging admission to that BBQ, and a very high price of admission at that: $1,000 for a plate of BBQ.

Is that how people hold barbeques down in North Carolina? I don’t think so. The whole affair was a Washington D.C. insider job. The BBQ wasn’t set up by North Carolina grassroots supporters. It was organized by professional political operatives at the D.C. firm Erickson & Company, which “specializes in campaign fundraising and finance strategies for both Democratic U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representative campaigns.” Erickson & Company is not a lobbying firm. Instead, it helps set up events like the Heath Shuler’s BBQ, at which lobbyists and other people seeking special favors can come, check in hand, to pay for access to elected officials and their aides.

Heath Shuler’s relationship with Erickson & Company is so tight that Shuler has an email account at the Erickson & Company domain name: heath.shuler@ericksoncompany.com

There are 11 other members of the U.S. Congress that have Erickson & Company emails – all Democrats. Erickson & Company headquarters is located right next to the National Democratic Club and the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee – very cozy. The other 11 members of Congress with Erickson & Company emails are:

Lois Capps
Michael Capuano
Ben Cardin
Diana DeGette
Eliot Engel
Barney Frank
Alan Grayson
Carolyn McCarthy
Bill Pascrell
Adam Schiff
Allyson Schwartz


on “12 House Members Have Emails At Fundraising Firm
21 Comments on “12 House Members Have Emails At Fundraising Firm
  1. Pingback: Moe Lane » Hey, what do these twelve legislators have in common?

  2. Pingback: Hey, what do these twelve legislators have in common? | Social Debate: Barack and American Politics

  3. Wow. Those democrats are some real partiers!! Alas, my Congressman, D Kucinich (D-Mars), isnt on your list. He IS a tad loopy but he a real fundraiser. You guys should think about inviting him!! Erickson &Co will be so proud!

  4. Pingback: Heath Shuler accused of ‘money Laundering’ « Asheville Tea Party

  5. Pingback: Heath Shuler Accused Of Money Laundering « Jane Q. Republican

  6. What exactly is being alleged here? That a congressman threw a fundraiser and invited lobbyists? Am I missing something? Please tell me there’s more to the story.

  7. There are Tea Party activists who are using this article to allege “money laundering”. This article makes no such accusations. It merely seeks to describe one part of a much larger system of moneyed politics that corrupts the democratic process – and which both Democrats and Republicans participate in.

    D.C. insiders and political pros will look at this as a non-story. Constituents may feel quite differently.

  8. The Asheville Tea Party thought the original title about “money laundering” (words originated by RedState) was too strong, and pulled the article from their website.

    In theory, any “campaign contributions” obtained at this BBQ should have been reported to the FEC, right?

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  10. Yes, that’s right, the FEC should have received records of these contributions – but their association with the particular event may be more difficult to establish. It’s worth a look, though.

  11. Umm… what?

    A firm specializes in hosting fundraising events. This is news?

    The e-mail thing is hardly anything demonstrating a “tight” relationship, it’s almost certainly just an RSVP e-mail and notice e-mail handled by a staffer for the company, I doubt Shuler or any other member of Congress actually sees or read anything sent back.

    Much ado about nothing.

    Sena Parnell
    Center for Competitive Politics

  12. Sean, I’m not surprised that you’ve written this opinion, given that your organization promotes a weakening of campaign finance laws, claiming that it’s “free speech” for industry lobbyists to give as much money as they want to members of Congress in order to influence legislation.

    I don’t think that most active voters would agree with you that pay-to-play events at which lobbyists provide money in return for access to politicians are nothing to worry about. The attention to this article from Shuler’s North Carolina constituents suggests that, as far as voters are concerned, this is not at all “much ado about nothing”.

    It may be legal, but that doesn’t make it ethical. I contend that ethics do matter a great deal.

    As for this being news, well, I’m not seeing where this particular cozy relationship has been written about before. It’s affecting both campaigning and the public business, and I’d like to see more reporting about this kind of behind-the-scenes power brokerage in the news media.

  13. Pingback: Political Update – 01/04/2010

  14. I’ve always wondered who would donate money to a representative that’s main job was to be a puppet for the party (Name Diana DeGette) Now I know. Hopefully this election will prove to get rid of her despite her connection to lobbyists and their leads and the payoffs that are available.

  15. As a citizen of NC District 11, Heath Shuler’s district, I am appalled. Congressmen/women have fund raisers and I could care less, however, WE, the citizens of District 11, have tried, effortlessly, to meet with our Congressmen all year. He has attended NO meeting. He has taken the advise of Washington Liberals to play hide and seek. His avoidance to hear us is shameless and this district has vowed, he will be REPLACED!!! Cute face and all. Buh, Bye Mr. Shuler future plain’ol citizen of NC.

  16. Washington liberals? The liberals part is where your argument disintegrates. Heath Shuler does not have a liberal voting record. He’s a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, a collection of Republican-leaning Democrats.

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