Hoyer leadership PAC spending highlighted
A new study of spending by congressional leadership PACS finds that House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland used $52,700 from his fund to pay for travel with donors to resorts over the past two years.
Leadership PACS are vehicles that politicians use to vacuum up money from lobbyists, special interests, fat-cat donors and others, which they then funnel to other candidates. The idea is that their fellow pols, once elected or re-elected to Congress, will repay the generosity by supporting the leadership ambitions of the sponsor, in this case Hoyer.
Campaign finance critics point out that many ordinary representatives and senators have also established leadership PACs, as have presidential candidates in recent years. The critics also note that less than half of the money collected by these leadership PACs winds up going to other candidates.
Of course, it costs money to raise money, which is why much of the contributed money goes to fundraising staff, consultants and the high-rolling resorts that apparently grease the flow of dough. The Post article points out that House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio used more than $70,000 for travel with donors to the Ritz-Carlton in Naples, Fla.
Hoyer spokeswoman Stephanie Lundberg is quoted as saying that Hoyer meets with contributors at resorts to ensure that donations "are as high as possible" and that he channeled an above-average amount of the money he's collected to other candidates.
The article also reported that Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reported no trips and just one catered event, for $1,125, through her leadership committee.