Congressman Adrian Smith defends his fund-raising methods against criticism from the man challenging him in the Republican primary.
Smith says fund-raising is a necessary part of campaigning. He disputes Tom Brewer’s accusation that his fund-raising focuses on Political Action Committees and not the people.
“I have the support of individuals, literally thousands of individuals around Nebraska, who have supported me and my campaigns. I appreciate that,” Smith tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Brewer is challenging Smith’s re-election in the Republican primary. 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 money for his re-election campaign.
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 and contends there has to be payback for those donating to campaign war chests.
Smith denies there says any payback required for accepting money from PACs.
“There are some PACs that are compose of individuals who unite among themselves to support candidates and it’s all disclosed and part of the campaign finance system,” Smith states.
Smith says his fund-raising is consistent with federal campaign finance regulations.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]