The only thing secret at Tortilla Coast on Capitol Hill is that many patrons are dining free and having campaign committees foot the bills.
The restaurant, a block away from congressional offices on Capitol Hill, serves as a regular watering hole, restaurant and meeting place for many members of Congress, their staff and guests. In each of the past three election cycles, House and national party campaign committees have paid bills totaling more than $200,000 at the restaurant.
The downstairs meeting room at Tortilla Coast was highlighted when Roll Call reported that a group of conservative House members met there with Sen. Ted Cruz on Monday night, during the battle over the government closing, the budget, and the debt ceiling. One member described the discussion as relating to a House strategy when the Senate passes something. The meeting may have been held there since the Republican Capitol Hill Club was closed Monday night, or they may have hoped for some privacy away from the Republican leadership.
But they didn't get much privacy, since House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and several other members, spotted the group, according to a followup Roll Call article.
For the six months of 2013, House and national party campaign committees have reported 195 charges totaling $47,657 spent at Capitol Hill Tortilla Coast. For the full 2011-2012 cycle, there were 658 charges totaling $206,602. In the 2009-2010 cycle there were 785 charges totaling $266,317. In the 2007-2008 cycle there were 913 charges totaling $222,945.
View the menu at Tortilla Coast.