Tim Rupli: The Lobbyist, The Parties, The Townhouse and Congress

Tim Rupli is a registered lobbyist for a variety of non-profit and for-profit corporations including the anti-immigration Numbers USA, the payday-lenders’ association called the Community Financial Services Association of America, the Independent Community Bankers of America, MetaBank, the Network Branded Prepaid Card Association, weapons training corporation Lasershot Inc., and pharmaceutical corporation Sepracor. In compensation for his lobbying work, these corporations paid Tim Rupli $1.69 million last year.

Congressman Robert Ney Congratulates Tim Rupli on the birth of his son in the Congressional Record on March 6, 2000It’s no wonder that Tim Rupli is so well-paid for his lobbying work. Since the days when Robert Ney, Duke Cunningham, Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff played the DC influence game, Rupli has been a player. An ex-aide to Tom DeLay and a contributor to the Friends of Duke Cunningham, Rupli was close enough to former congressman Robert Ney that Ney congratulated Rupli on the birth of his son in the Congressional Record on March 6, 2000. Tim Rupli Jr. even had his birth weight and length entered into the official record of the House: how many of us can say the same?

The Rupli Connection: Tim Rupli, the Townhome, the Contributions, the Connections and the CongressIn Tim Rupli’s formal lobbyist disclosures currently available for 2009, he lists financial contributions to 14 members of Congress:

#1. $150.00 on 2/25/09 to Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-PA)
#2. $150.00 on 2/25/09 to Rep. Thad McCotter (R-MI)
#3. $150.00 on 2/26/09 to Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA)
#4. $150.00 on 03/02/09 to Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY)
#5. $150.00 on 03/04/09 to Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO)
#6. $1,000.00 on 03/04/09 to Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL)
#7. $1,000.00 on 03/05/09 to Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY)
#8. $500.00 on 03/05/09 to Rep. Frank Kratovil (D-MD)
#9. $1,000.00 on 03/17/09 to Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY)
#10. $4,800.00 on 03/31/09 to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)
#11. $500.00 on 06/18/09 to Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH)
#12. $150.00 on 06/26/09 to Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI)
#13. $1,000.00 on 02/21/09 to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) through the Tallatchee Creek PAC
#14. $1,000.00 on 03/25/09 to Rep. David Scott (D-GA) through the BRAVE PAC

Congress’ lobbying disclosure reports aren’t available for the 2nd half of 2009 just yet, making the above information incomplete. The following additional contributions by Tim Rupli for the 3rd Quarter of 2009 are reported through the Federal Election Commission:

#15. $1,900.00 on 9/29/09 to Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL)
#16. $1,000.00 on 9/30/09 to Sen. John Thune (R-SD)
#17. $1,000.00 on 8/12/09 to Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC)
#18. $500.00 on 10/15/09 to the House Conservatives Fund PAC

4th Quarter 2009 FEC data will become available by the end of the month. If we stop here, Tim Rupli simply appears to be a campaign contributor with a highly odd political philosophy: contributing both to deeply conservative Republicans and to liberal Democrats, and directly contributing much less money than his salary permits. But why stop with looking at direct contributions reported to the federal government? Official congressional lobbying disclosure websites and direct FEC records of Tim Rupli’s campaign contributions don’t cover everything. Consider Tim Rupli’s townhouse on 446 New Jersey Avenue SE in Washington, DC:

446 New Jersey Avenue, townhouse of lobbyist Tim Rupli

Tim Rupli purchased this 1,200 square-foot townhouse in October 2006 for $722,500, and reports it as his personal address. Other records confirm Rupli’s ownership. But this townhouse, located just two short blocks away from the Capitol Building, is more than a personal address for Tim Rupli. As part of a project in which it collects DC invitations, the Sunlight Foundation reports that Rupli’s townhouse was also a frequent venue for fundraising parties for congressional candidates in the first three quarters of 2009. We’ve started with these Rupli townhouse party reports that the Sunlight Foundation has found out about (there well may be more), and for each member of Congress who’s been feted there, we ask: did that member of Congress pay for the cost of the fundraising event at the Rupli townhouse? Did Tim Rupli, in turn, furnish the feted member of Congress with a campaign contribution? And is the feted member of Congress on the House Committee on Financial Services — the very committee Tim Rupli has been paid so heftily to lobby? And of those feted who are Financial Services committee members, how many have cosponsored H.R. 4300, a bill to cap credit card interest rates, just the sort of bill Tim Rupli has been paid handsomely to lobby against? Here’s what we found:

On February 3, 2009, Rep. Todd Akin was the beneficiary of a fundraiser at the Rupli townhouse, for which his campaign committee did not pay expenses.

On February 11, March 3, and March 24, 2009, Rep. Mike Rogers was the beneficiary of fundraisers at the Rupli townhouse, for which his campaign committee did not pay expenses.

On February 11, Rep. J. Gresham Barrett was the beneficiary of a fundraiser at the Rupli townhouse, for which his campaign committee did not pay expenses. Rep. Barrett is on the House Financial Services Committee that Tim Rupli lobbies. Rep. Barrett has not cosponsored H.R. 4300, the bill to cap credit card interest rates.

On February 25, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was the beneficiary of a fundraiser at the Rupli townhouse, for which her campaign committee did not pay expenses.

On March 2, Rep. Geoff Davis was the beneficiary of a fundraiser at the Rupli townhouse, for which his campaign committee did not pay expenses.

On March 5, Rep. Gregory Meeks was the beneficiary of a fundraiser at the Rupli townhouse, for which his campaign committee did not pay expenses. Rep. Meeks is a member of the House Financial Services Committee that Tim Rupli is paid to lobby on behalf of banks, credit card corporations and payday lenders. Rep. Meeks has not cosponsored H.R. 4300.

On March 5, Rep. Parker Griffith was the beneficiary of a fundraiser at the Rupli townhouse, for which his campaign committee did not pay expenses.

On March 11, Rep. Jason Altmire was the beneficiary of a fundraiser at the Rupli townhouse, for which his campaign committee did not pay expenses.

On March 12 and again on September 14, Rep. Frank Kratovil was the beneficiary of a fundraiser at the Rupli townhouse. According to FEC records, Rep. Kratovil paid Tim Rupli $500 for the use of Rupli’s townhouse. But FEC records also show that Tim Rupli provided the Kratovil campaign a $500 campaign contribution in the same month.

On March 4, Rep. Tom Rooney was the beneficiary of a fundraiser at the Rupli townhouse. The Rooney campaign paid $1,000 for the use of Rupli’s townhouse. But FEC records also show that Tim Rupli provided the Rooney campaign a $1000 campaign contribution in the same month.

On March 13, and again on May 13, and again on June 16, Rep. Jim Gerlach was the beneficiary of fundraisers at the Rupli townhouse, for which his campaign committee did not pay expenses. Rep. Gerlach is a member of the House Financial Services Committee that Tim Rupli is paid to lobby on behalf of banks, credit card corporations and payday lenders. Jim Gerlach has not cosponsored H.R. 4300.

On March 13, Rep. John Campbell was the beneficiary of a fundraiser at the Rupli townhouse, for which his campaign committee did not pay expenses. Rep. Campbell is a member of the House Financial Services Committee that Tim Rupli is paid to lobby on behalf of banks, credit card corporations and payday lenders. John Campbell has not cosponsored H.R. 4300.

On March 17, Rep. Edolphus Towns was the beneficiary of a fundraiser at the Rupli townhouse, for which his campaign committee did not pay expenses.

On March 19, Senator Jim DeMint was the beneficiary of a fundraiser at the Rupli townhouse. In August of 2009 Senator DeMint’s campaign committee paid Tim Rupli $1,000 for the use of Rupli’s townhouse. In that same month of August, Tim Rupli sent Jim DeMint a $1,000 campaign contribution. Jim DeMint is a member of the Senate Banking Committee that Tim Rupli is paid seven figures to lobby. While Senator DeMint does not have the opportunity to cosponsor H.R. 4300 since it is a House bill, he is a cosponsor of neither S. 500 nor S. 582, both of which would place limits on interest rates for consumer credit.

On March 19, and again on March 25, and again on April 21, Rep. Thaddeus McCotter was the beneficiary of fundraisers at the Rupli townhouse, for which his campaign committee did not pay expenses. Rep. McCotter is a member of the House Financial Services Committee that Tim Rupli is paid to lobby on behalf of banks, credit card corporations and payday lenders. Thad McCotter has not cosponsored H.R. 4300.

On March 24, Rep. Andre Carson was the beneficiary of a fundraiser at the Rupli townhouse, for which his campaign committee did not pay expenses. Rep. Carson is a member of the House Financial Services Committee that Tim Rupli is paid to lobby on behalf of banks, credit card corporations and payday lenders. Andre Carson has not cosponsored H.R. 4300.

On March 25, Rep. David Scott was the beneficiary of a fundraiser at the Rupli townhouse, for which his campaign committee did not pay expenses. Rep. Scott is a member of the House Financial Services Committee that Tim Rupli is paid to lobby on behalf of banks, credit card corporations and payday lenders. David Scott has not cosponsored H.R. 4300.

On March 31, Rep. Mike Ross was the beneficiary of a fundraiser at the Rupli townhouse, for which his campaign committee did not pay expenses.

On April 22 and again on September 15, Rep. Jackie Spier was the beneficiary of fundraisers at the Rupli townhouse, for which her campaign committee did not pay expenses. Rep. Speier is a member of the House Financial Services Committee that Tim Rupli is paid to lobby. Jackie Speier has not cosponsored H.R. 4300.

On April 28, Rep. Bill Foster was the beneficiary of a fundraiser at the Rupli townhouse, for which his campaign committee did not pay expenses. Rep. Foster is a member of the House Financial Services Committee that Tim Rupli is paid to lobby. Bill Foster has not cosponsored H.R. 4300.

On May 14, Rep. Ron Klein was the beneficiary of a fundraiser at the Rupli townhouse, for which his campaign committee did not pay expenses. Rep. Klein is a member of the House Financial Services Committee that Tim Rupli is paid to lobby. Ron Klein has not cosponsored H.R. 4300.

On May 19, Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer was the beneficiary of a fundraiser at the Rupli townhouse, for which his campaign committee did not pay expenses.

On May 21, Rep. Mike Turner was the beneficiary of a fundraiser at the Rupli townhouse, for which his campaign committee did not pay expenses.

On June 3 and again on June 23, Rep. Brad Sherman was the beneficiary of fundraisers at the Rupli townhouse, for which his campaign committee did not pay expenses. Rep. Sherman is a member of the House Financial Services Committee that Tim Rupli is paid to lobby. Brad Sherman has not cosponsored H.R. 4300.

On June 11, Senator John Thune was the beneficiary of a fundraiser at the Rupli townhouse; no expenditure report is available through the FEC to indicate whether Senator Thune paid for the fundraiser’s expenses.

On June 11, Rep. Rob Wittman was the beneficiary of a fundraiser at the Rupli townhouse, for which his campaign committee did not pay expenses.

On June 15 and again on July 29, Rep. Yvette Clarke was the beneficiary of a fundraiser at the Rupli townhouse, for which her campaign committee did not pay expenses.

On June 15, Rep. Kendrick Meek was the beneficiary of a fundraiser at the Rupli townhouse, for which his campaign committee did not pay expenses.

On June 16, Rep. Walter Minnick was the beneficiary of a fundraiser at the Rupli townhouse, for which his campaign committee did not pay expenses. Rep. Minnick is a member of the House Financial Services Committee that Tim Rupli is paid to lobby. Walt Minnick has not cosponsored H.R. 4300.

On June 16, Rep. Tim Murphy was the beneficiary of a fundraiser at the Rupli townhouse, for which his campaign committee did not pay expenses.

On June 17 and again on July 28, Rep. Patrick McHenry was the beneficiary of fundraisers at the Rupli townhouse, for which his campaign committee did not pay expenses. Rep. McHenry is a member of the House Financial Services Committee that Tim Rupli is paid to lobby. Patrick McHenry has not cosponsored H.R. 4300.

On June 18, Rep. Jim Jordan was the beneficiary of a fundraiser at the Rupli townhouse, for which his campaign committee did not pay expenses.

On June 24, Rep. Paul Kanjorski was the beneficiary of a fundraiser at the Rupli townhouse, for which his campaign committee did not pay expenses. Rep. Kanjorski is a member of the House Financial Services Committee that Tim Rupli is paid to lobby. Paul Kanjorski has not cosponsored H.R. 4300.

On June 24, Rep. Patrick Murphy was the beneficiary of a fundraiser at the Rupli townhouse, for which his campaign committee did not pay expenses.

On July 16, Rep. Adrian Smith was the beneficiary of a fundraiser at the Rupli townhouse, for which his campaign committee did not pay expenses.

On July 22 and again on September 9, Rep. Dean Heller was the beneficiary of a fundraiser at the Rupli townhouse, for which his campaign committee did not pay expenses.

On September 10, Rep. Mark Schauer was the beneficiary of a fundraiser at the Rupli townhouse, for which his campaign committee did not pay expenses.

On September 16, Rep. Alcee Hastings was the beneficiary of a fundraiser at the Rupli townhouse, for which his campaign committee did not pay expenses.

On September 17, Rep. Glenn Nye the Third was the beneficiary of a fundraiser at the Rupli townhouse, for which his campaign committee did not pay expenses.

On September 30, Rep. Pete Sessions was the beneficiary of a fundraiser at the Rupli townhouse, for which his campaign committee did not pay expenses.

36.8% of those we know were feted and moneyed at the townhouse of Tim Rupli just happen to be members of the House Financial Services Committee. This is a disproportionately high number: in comparison, only 5.3% of the feted are members of the House Education and Labor Committee, and only 7.9% are on the House Ways and Means Committee. Members of the Financial Services Committee were more than twice as likely to come back for one or more fundraisers at Rupli’s townhouse than non-members of the committee. Of those members of the House Financial Services Commitee that held fundraisers at Tim Rupli’s townhouse, not a single one has cosponsored H.R. 4300, the committee’s bill to cap credit card interest rates. H.R. 4300 has 70 cosponsors in the House, making this lack of cosponsorship by feted committee members rather notable… and rather worthy of some explanation.

Even though the provision of a choice space at no cost in a prized location just off of Capitol Hill for fundraising parties marks a favor by the lobbyist Tim Rupli to the multiple candidates who appear, such a provision need not be reported to the FEC by Rupli, thanks to a loophole in campaign law. Without the collection of invitations to these fundraisers by the Sunlight Foundation, we wouldn’t know about any of these parties. We can give our thanks to the Sunlight Foundation for its sleuthing, but wouldn’t it be better for the American public to know more about these secret gatherings between lobbyists and legislators?

7 Comments

on “Tim Rupli: The Lobbyist, The Parties, The Townhouse and Congress
7 Comments on “Tim Rupli: The Lobbyist, The Parties, The Townhouse and Congress
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