Since Reshma launched our campaign, hundreds of volunteers have been making calls and knocking on doors because they have lost faith in their leaders and believe we need a new brand of ethical leadership in Washington. Reshma isn't running to become a part of Congress -- she's running to change Congress. She's pledged to never take a penny of corporate PAC money and has put forward detailed "Congress-ready" ethics legislation to clean up the Capitol.
Reshma has been holding Carolyn Maloney accountable for hosting two fundraisers -- one at the home of a financial lobbyist and another at a James Taylor concert -- while negotiating key provisions as a conferee on the financial regulation bill.
A few weeks ago, Carolyn Maloney released a negative mailer attacking Reshma for running a "dishonest" campaign with "no evidence."
Here are the facts.
On May 26th, the Washington Post reported that Carolyn Maloney was recommended for a spot on the financial regulation conference committee.
On the day the financial regulation conference committee began negotiating Wall Street reform, Carolyn Maloney spent her morning at the home of a prominent financial lobbyist (invitation here) raising money from the very interests she is supposed to be regulating later that day. As the independent, non-partisan and non-profit Sunlight Foundation reported: "Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., planned two fundraisers this month, including a June 10 breakfast at the home of lobbyist Robert Raben, founder of the Raben Group, which lobbies on financial issues. The invite highlights Maloney’s committee positions as chair of the Joint Economic Committee and a member on both the Financial Services and Oversight Committee and Government Reform Committee."
On June 14th, shortly after the fundraiser at the home of the financial lobbyist, the Wall Street Journal reported that Maloney was one of the few lawmakers on the financial regulation conference committee still holding fundraisers during negotiations. In the article, Maloney's office even defended the practice.
Two days later, on June 16th, the Washington Post reported that eight House members are under investigation for holding fundraisers close to the House vote on the financial regulation bill -- the same actions taken by Carolyn Maloney six days earlier.
But Maloney wasn't done raising money from the interests she was supposed to be regulating.
Maloney also sent an invitation inviting special interest PACs to attend a fundraiser and reception at James Taylor concert on June 23rd, in the middle of the final negotiations for important provisions in the bill. Maloney charged PACs $2,500 a person to join the Congresswoman in a suite for a private reception before the concert. Maloney's campaign won't release a list of the attendees, but among the PACs that donated right before the concert: Bank of America.
After the event, various news outlets reported on Maloney's fundraising at the James Taylor concert and question the appropriateness of the event.
After the Huffington Post asked Maloney if it was appropriate to be fundraising from the interests she was supposed to be regulating, Maloney told them that she attended the concert because Carole King invited her, not because she was having a fundraiser. She also says there weren't any lobbyists in her suite "that [she] could see." Politico pointed out that Maloney's response makes no sense: "the only problem is it was Maloney's own fundraiser, as the invitation shows."
Another Politico story cites several sources that say Maloney was “less than outspoken” and a member of Congress pointed out that a tough primary challenge was one of the reasons. Maloney is also named by Wall Street executives as one of the Congressional members that continued to seek donations during the financial regulation reform debate.
The House Ethics Manual is clear that a Member or staffer should not solicit contributions from companies with which they are working on legislation at the very time that work is being done, because of the appearance of offering official action in exchange for a contribution. (see House Ethics Manual p. 147)