Its a once-a-year event, the Democratic aide said. I think a lot of people make one ask a year, and this is the ask they make.
Rick Kessler of Dow Lohnes Government Strategies also minimized the amount of official business that actually gets done at dinners like this.
When you are at something that big, it makes the likelihood of something untoward happening much smaller, Kessler said. Its not intimate in that sense. Theres very little business or shoptalk that I would engage in. It doesnt feel right.
The DCCC is hardly alone in using senior-level staff to bring in campaign contributions.
The National Republican Congressional Committee has also done two chiefs-of-staff fundraisers this year. The NRCCs events on April 15 and May 26 were held at Cornerstone Government Affairs, although the NRCC paid to rent the space and for the food and drink, according to a committee official.
The NRCC also does not specify a contribution amount. Instead, the NRCC allows individuals to give at their discretion, the official said.
The Senatorial campaign committees of both parties also do a series of chiefs-of-staff fundraisers throughout the year. The National Republican Senatorial Committee most recently hosted such a fundraiser on April 15.
Using staff as a draw for fundraisers is within the bounds of the law, according to ethics lawyers. Setting aside the appearance or optics of such invitations, there are no legal implications to such an event, said Ken Gross, an ethics lawyer at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.