A Republican challenging the re-election of Congressman Adrian Smith says Smith’s method of raising campaign cash provides just another reason Smith needs to be replaced.
Republican Tom Brewer criticizes Congressman Smith for participating in a weekend get-away in Vail, Colorado in which he dined and skied with corporate executives and lobbyists, raising even more to pad his million dollar campaign war chest.
Brewer contends raising that much money scares off challengers and creates Congressmen for life.
“And we’ve seen that that is the root of the problem that we have in Congress right now is life-time representation where they become focused in supporting those PACs and not the people,” Brewer tells Nebraska Radio Network.
The story broke in the New York Times, which led its piece with an antidote about Smith.
According to the Times, Congress shifted how it went about raising money for re-election campaigns after corruption scandals involving free trips paid by lobbyists. Political campaigns and Political Action Committees, or PACs, run by leadership pay the expenses so that they no longer are considered gifts, even though the money is collected from the corporate executives and the lobbyists members of Congress mingle with during these outings.
Donors give between $1,000 and $5,000 each for a chance to speak with members of Congress in a much more leisurely setting than Washington, according to the Times’ article, which adds that there is no public disclosure of how much is raised at each event.
Brewer believes the practice is unhealthy.
“There’s got to be a payback for that,” Brewer says. “You cannot negotiate these deals in a hot tub in Colorado and not have that influence how you’re going to vote when they’re giving you money.”
Brewer, who retired from the military, says the new method only emphasizes a “day and night” difference between the two. Brewer claims to have cashed in his retirement savings to fund the campaign, along with raising $10 to $1,000 from farmers, ranchers and small business owners throughout the Third Congressional District.
Nebraska Radio Network contacted Congressman Smith’s political campaign and requested an interview to answer Brewer’s charges. The campaign office responded that Smith was traveling back to Washington and was unavailable for an interview.
The campaign did issue a statement from Amanda Temoshek, the Finance Director.
“Adrian works tirelessly to represent the Third District and to maintain and expand the Republican majority in the House. Cutting spending, reforming the tax code, reducing the size and scope of the federal government, and preventing Nancy Pelosi from again becoming Speaker would all be in the best interest of the Third District. In compliance with all campaign finance laws, he raises funds both in and out of Nebraska to help get his conservative message to voters.”
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]