The Intercept has come upon some interesting info. You can buy yourself access to people and information you should not be able to purchase. Ooopsie. Well, perhaps you and I wouldn’t be able to purchase a republican or few, but those who have nefarious interests certainly can.
Congressional Republicans are baldly enticing donors with the promise of meetings with senior legislative staff, effectively placing access to congressional employees up for sale to professional influence peddlers and other well-heeled interests.
Documents obtained by The Intercept and the Center for Media and Democracy show that the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee are both telling donors that in exchange for campaign contributions, they will receive invitations to special events to meet with congressional staff including chiefs of staff, leadership staffers, and committee staffers.
While selling donors access to senators and representatives and their campaign staff is nothing new, the open effort to sell access to their legislative staff — the taxpayer-funded government employees who work behind the scenes to write legislation, handle investigations, and organize committee hearings — appears to be in violation of ethics rules that prohibit campaigns from using House and Senate resources in any way.
Congressional ethics rules flatly forbid Capitol Hill employees from engaging in fundraising activities as part of their official duties. Any explicit fundraising work must be done strictly as a volunteer, and there must be a clear firewall separating government work from campaign work.
It’s arguably the last fig leaf left when it comes to giving the appearance that campaign contributions are not directly linked to official acts.
“You can’t use resources that are paid for by the taxpayer to service campaign donors. That’s blatantly illegal,” said Caroline Fredrickson, the former chief of staff to Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.