Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Kanjorski Fundraiser $5000 Per Sponsor- Excessive Culture

At Politicalpartytime.or, "Documenting The Political Party Circuit" the political fundraising invitation for Paul Kanjorski appears on its website. It clearly demonstrates the high price of "Pay To Play" politics representing the hallmark of Kanjorski campaigns who is in a position to influence legislation for the financial services industry.

According to Jen Ustynoski is a finance assistant at Bonner Group Inc. and an associate at Orion Group Inc. where it states that the Orion Group is part of the "financial services industry".

This article from the Sunlight Foundation sums up the problem with this type of fundraising.

One year after the biggest economic collapse since the Great Depression, Congress is still debating new financial regulations to protect consumers and prevent risk-taking in the financial sector. The House Committee on Financial Services is currently undertaking the important first step of writing, amending and voting on some of the pieces of the long-proposed financial regulatory reform.

Twenty-seven committee members have so far received over one-quarter of their contributions from the finance, insurance and real estate (FIRE) sector.

Pennsylvania Rep. Paul Kanjorski is the Chair of the Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises and is tasked with crafting many of the initial bills for the proposed financial regulatory reform. While undertaking this important work Kanjorski has had enough time to raise large sums for his reelection. Of the $397,215 that Kanjorski has raised in 2009, 54% of it comes from the FIRE sector. For his career, Kanjorski received 44% of his contributions from the FIRE sector. Of all Financial Services Committee members, only Kanjorski and Bachus receive over 40% of their career campaign contributions from the FIRE sector.

Kanjorski has stated that he will be watchful of the influence the finance and insurance companies hold in the committee, “”We must ensure that special interests do not weaken particular solutions to the point of becoming toothless.” Earlier this year, however, Kanjorski held a fundraiser that was thrown by lobbyists for financial services organizations. Kanjorski refused to release a list of attendees to the fundraiser.

The Huffington Post wrote an article about Kanjorski's refusal to release the list.

Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.), a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, raised $164,500 from finance, insurance, and real estate interests during the second quarter of 2009, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission filings by the nonpartisan Public Campaign Action Fund.

"Anytime you take $164,000 from just one sector of the economy," PCAF Campaigns Director David Donnelly told the Huffington Post, "clearly those that are giving to him hope he helps him out."

In an effort to see Kanjorski shake the money tree in real time, the Huffington Post visited a fundraiser Wednesday night at a home in Northwest Washington. Upon setting foot in the house, the Huffington Post was immediately asked to leave.

Price of admission to Kanjorski's dinner party was a $1,000 campaign contribution for individual guests, $2,500 for political action committee reps, and $5,000 for "co-hosts." The Sunlight Foundation posted an invitation to the event on its website, The house belonged to big-time lobbyist Tony Podesta, who co-hosted the event with wife Heather Podesta and Gwen Mellor, whose clients include the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the National Installment Lenders Association.

There's no telling who attended Wednesday's fundraiser. Event organizers and Kanjorski's office declined to provide details about the guest list for the run-of-the-mill event, and arriving guests politely declined to speak with a reporter.

The Huffington Post reported on the Podesta's in this article.

Tony and Heather Podesta basked in the praise when they donated the iconic, five-foot tall "Hope" portrait of Barack Obama to the National Portrait Gallery just before Inauguration Day. But to those who hoped Obama would reduce the influence of lobbyists in Washington, there was also something uniquely depressing about the gift -- because the Podestas are exactly the sort of K Street powerbrokers candidate Obama railed against.

And while Obama's presidency so far has in many ways failed to live up to his campaign poster, it's been a cash cow for the Podestas, who have been able to leverage their insider status into a slew of new high-paying clients. The husband-and-wife lobbyist couple have become icons themselves -- of the lobbying industry's imperviousness to Obama's change agenda.

Whether you call it "Pay To Play" or "Pay For Play" it doesn't pass the smell test.

No comments: