Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has spent more than $88,000 on meals and catering fundraising events for potential donors, including energy and commerce industry executives, during the first six months of 2013.
While many members of Congress use direct mail, telemarketing or annual dinners to raise funds, Upton has perfected a fundraising method that not only brings in contributions from those areas in which his committee considers legislation, but lets him enjoy some of the nicer hotels, resorts, restaurants and sports events around the country.
Upton's PAC, Team Republicans for Utilizing Sensible Tactics (Trust PAC), reported today it had receipts of $324,417 and disbursements of $188,128, leaving $362,474 cash on hand as of June 30. The PAC received $172,500 from PACs and other committees and $151,800 from individuals.
Major bundles of contributions included $25,000 from five executives of Cheniere Energy; $17,250 from 32 executives of Exelon Corporation; $15,000 from two executives and a spouse at Koch Industries; $12,000 from six executives of Pfizer Inc.; and $12,000 from three executives and a spouse at Castle Harlan Inc.
Besides the individual donors, Cheniere Energy Inc. PAC gave $5,000 and Koch Industries Inc. PAC gave $5,000.
Other contributions included $5,000 each from the PACs of the following companies: AT&T Inc., Comcast Corporation, DTE Energy Company, Duke Energy Corporation, Entergy Corporation, T-Mobile USA Inc., among others. Several giving $2,500 included Clear Channel Communications Inc., General Electric Company, Verizon Communication Inc., Viacom International Inc., among others.
Events were held at the Cheeca Lodge & Spa, Islamorado, Fla. ($20,403); Park Hyatt Chicago, Ill. ($11,624); Chicago From the Lake, Chicago, IL. (6,326); La Playa Beach Resort, Naples, Fla. ($4,452); New York Palace Hotel, New York, N.Y. ($3,004);Ritz-Carlton Naples, Fla. ($3,498); and the Westin New York, New York, N.Y. ($533).
Other meals were held at Gibson's Steakhouse, Chicago, Ill. $7,501); Vic & Anthony's, Houston, Texas ($3,007); Levy Restaurants at Wrigley Field, Chicago, Ill. ($1,290); Hugo's Frog Bar & Fish House, Chicago, Ill. ($1,500); among others.
Washington, D.C. area meals were at the Capital Grille, Hawk & Dove, Matchbox Restaurant, Silver Spork, Tune Inn, Tunnicliffe's Tavern, and the Union Pub.
In Chicago catering was supplied by Blue Plate Catering Ltd. ($3,125). In Washington, D.C. catering was provided by Occasions Caterers Inc. ($7,150).
The PAC also reimbursed AT&T Services Inc. ($5,190) and ComEd-Exelon Corporation ($4,100) for "event tickets/facility rental."