WASHINGTON -- With the federal government shuttered, forcing mass furloughs and others to work without pay, many lawmakers have decided that it's not the best time to wine and dine donors for reelection campaigns.
On Monday, The Huffington Post reported that at least six lawmakers planned to hold fundraisers this week. By Tuesday, four had been canceled, and another event for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) also was canceled.
President Obama appears to agree with them. On Tuesday, a spokesman for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the nonprofit arm of the caucus in Congress, told The Huffington Post that Obama had canceled a planned speech at the group's annual gala on Wednesday. "Due to the government shutdown, the President and the First Lady will not be attending the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s Annual Awards Dinner tomorrow night," the spokesman emailed.
Obama has delivered the keynote address at four out of the past five CHCI annual galas, so the cancellation was a setback for the group, which uses the dinner to raise money for leadership programs that serve Latino youth.
Canceling fundraisers is no small matter. They are usually planned months in advance, and draw in money for lawmakers' reelection campaigns, which now begin almost immediately after an election. But holding a fundraiser when congressional ineptitude is causing hardship and inconvenience apparently proved too far a reach for cash.
Reps. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), Lois Capps (D-Calif.), Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) and Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) all canceled events scheduled for this week.
But not all lawmakers have made the call. Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) is still planning to hold a fundraiser with eight Democratic congressmen on Capitol Hill. Sen. John Boozman's (R-Ark.) Second Annual Trout Fishing Weekend for his PAC is still scheduled to begin on Friday.
Canceling fundraisers has not stopped anyone from raising money. Email asks are still going out, and by some measures, have been quite successful. The Democratic National Committee had its best fundraising day since the 2012 election on Monday, netting nearly $850,000.
"We commend the lawmakers who’ve canceled fundraisers, they did the right thing. Every member of Congress’ single focus should be ending the shutdown and forging agreement on the budget, not preparing their next campaign," Common Cause Communications Director Mary Boyle said in an email to HuffPost. "But not all members have said they would follow suit, and there has been no word from party leadership on this issue, or anything along those lines. There’s every reason to believe there’s fundraising still going on."
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