Shock audio: Facing ‘obligations’ from leadership, Democrat Congresswoman leaves voicemail for lobbyist cash

Capitol Confidential

A couple weeks ago, House Member Eleanor Holmes Norton made a fundraising call to a lobbyist. The lobbyist wasn’t available, so Holmes Norton left a voicemail.

We have been given a copy of that message. The audio is [here].

By way of background, with their prospects for November quickly deteriorating, Congressional Democrats are scrambling to assemble the financial resources they hope can stave off their electoral armageddon. Speaker Pelosi and her leadership team are putting a lot of pressure on Democrat members to pony up campaign contributions to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. In the article linked above, Politico noted:

In August, Pelosi and other top leaders wrote members, saying, “We need to know your commitment is to maintaining a strong Democratic majority now” and pleading with them to call “to let us know what you are able to do and when.”

The pressure is especially strong on members from “safe” districts, who need little campaign money of their own to win reelection. The catch, though, is that many of these members haven’t amassed vast campaign war-chests, for the simple reason that they haven’t needed them. So, they are scrambling to meet their Pelosi-imposed obligations. Holmes Norton is from one such “safe” district–the District of Columbia…

…Her message raises many concerns.

1. At the very beginning of the message, Holmes Norton notes that the lobbyist:

ha[s] given to other colleagues of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

Beyond being a bit heavy-handed, where did she get this information? Such donations are listed in FEC reports, but it is a violation to use that information to solicit campaign donations.

2. More serious, however, is her frequent mention of her seniority and her Chairmanship of a subcommittee. She is attempting to solicit funds based on her past actions taken in her official capacity in Congress. She is implying to the lobbyist that, should he decline to donate, he will be turning down a senior member of Congress who Chairs a subcommittee highly relevant to his “sector”.

3.  Worse than that, she details her role overseeing a large economic development project in the District, funded by “stimulus” funds. It would appear that either the lobbyist has an interest in this project, or the Congresswoman thinks he does, as she states she is “frankly surprised” the lobbyist hasn’t given to her…

…Then there are the House Ethics rules, according to House Ethics Manual (2008 Edition)…

Read the entire article and listen to the audio at

H/T The Astute Bloggers

Meanwhile, here’s what the Democrats were up to over the weekend:
Democrats Hoping to Play Up John Boehner’s Lobbying Ties in Midterm Battle. Does Boehner have ties to lobbyists? Yes, he has. Over the past two weeks the President and his allies in the “lame steam media” have been attacking Rep. Boehner on a variety of issues (including his smoking habit and his perpetual suntan), now that the “Blame George Bush” strategy is finally losing traction. At CAJ we believe Mr. Obama and the Dems should realize that  Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals work both ways once one learns how to use them effectively.

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