Reshma Saujani, the Democratic primary challenger to Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), has posted a new video on her website slamming the Congresswoman for inviting corporate PAC lobbyists to a James Taylor and Carole King concert during a crucial moment in negotiations for a financial reform bill "already watered down by special interests influence."
The Maloney fundraiser, held Wednesday night at the Verizon center, was open to all PACs, but Saujani is accusing the incumbent of cozying up to financial lobbyists during the same week the House Financial Committee hammers out the final details of the bill.
"The financial reform bill is too important to get wrong," Saujani said in a statement. "Right now, some on the conference committee are allowing lobbyists -- and the same people who caused the crisis -- to write the legislation. It's time for Carolyn Maloney to step up and start leading."
Maloney told HuffPost's Ryan Grim that she attended the concert because Carole King is a close friend of hers. "She even came and sang at my husband's funeral," the Congresswoman said. "She invited me and I went."
Asked whether any financial lobbyists were there, Maloney replied, "Not that I could see."
The Maloney camp defended her decision to hold the fundraiser despite financial reform negotiations, pointing out that the conference committee was established long before Rep. Maloney knew she was on it, and called the Saujani camp video "desperate" and hypocritical.
"This political attack marks the height of hypocrisy: our opponent, a former hedge fund employee, is being bankrolled by the financial services industry while Maloney has a consistent record standing up to the special interests," said Alix Anfang, a spokesperson for the Maloney campaign. "Saujani has failed to gain traction because New Yorkers recognize Maloney's strong record of accomplishments. With no record of her own to run on, our opponent continues to run a desperate campaign."
While Maloney declined to cancel her fundraiser in light of a possible conflict of interest, other members of the conference committee have been more cautious. Shortly after eight House members received ethics inquiries for holding fundraisers during financial reform negotiations in December, Barney Frank cancelled a fundraiser that was scheduled to coincide with the first day of committee deliberations.
The video released by the Saujani campaign does not accuse Maloney of any specific ethics violations, but it mocks the incumbent's poorly timed fundraising efforts to the tune of the popular James Taylor song, "You've Got a Friend."
Ryan Grim contributed to this report.
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