Judicial Watch • Congresswoman Hits Lobbyist Up For Cash In Voicemail

Congresswoman Hits Lobbyist Up For Cash In Voicemail

Congresswoman Hits Lobbyist Up For Cash In Voicemail

SEPTEMBER 16, 2010

 

In a shamelessly brazen effort to raise money for her party a veteran U.S. congresswoman who chairs a House transportation subcommittee left a detailed voicemail asking a lobbyist for cash.

The reprehensible solicitation from a senior member of congress, District of Columbia Democrat Eleanor Holmes Norton, was exposed this week by a news organization that linked the audio as well as the transcript of the phone call. Norton begins the message by telling the lobbyist that he has given money to other colleagues on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, information that is not legal to use when soliciting campaign contributions.

She frequently mentions her seniority and chairmanship of the transportation subcommittee that oversees many federal real estate and economic development programs, obviously in an attempt to get money for actions she may have taken in her official capacity as a federal lawmaker.

Then she details her role overseeing a large, stimulus-funded economic development project in the District of Columbia, which means the lobbyist probably has an interest in the matter. This is further confirmed when the congresswoman states that she is “frankly surprised” that the lobbyist hasn’t given her any money, especially because of her “long and deep work” in the lobbyist’s “sector.”

At the very least Norton violated House ethics rules that forbid members from soliciting contributions linked to actions they have taken or are being asked to take in their official capacity. If Norton called from her Capitol Hill office, she also broke the law since its illegal to solicit campaign funds on federal property.

So far she has refused comment, but Norton can’t possibly claim that she didn’t know her actions were inappropriate. After all, the former Georgetown University law professor and self-described civil rights and feminist leader is serving her tenth year in congress and she was a public servant before that when she chaired the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under Jimmy Carter.


 

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