The same day Rep. Xavier Becerra was named to a bipartisan deficit reduction committee, a D.C. lobbying firm announced a $1,500 a head fundraiser for the L.A. Democrat. Now, a government watchdog group is crying foul.
Even before Becerra was named to the supercommittee, the nonprofit group Common Cause called on members to stop fundraising while they deliberate over how to cut a trillion and a half dollars from the federal deficit. Mary Boyle of Common Cause says when donors give lawmakers large amounts of money, they buy access and influence.
"This is just going to be that same scenario but just kind of hyped up, on speed even more so because there’s gonna be such critical decisions being made," she said.
In a statement, Becerra said he “did not know, did not ask, would not ask” and “will not ask any” supporters to use his appointment to the select committee “for purposes outside its principle focus.”
Not good enough, says Common Cause’s Boyle.
"No, no, that’s ridiculous. It’s completely unbelievable," she said, reiterating her request for complete transparency of all fundraising activities.
The lobbying organization planning the event, Investment Company Institute, says the fundraiser was scheduled back in January, long before anyone imagined the need for a “super” deficit reduction committee.