Finally, we also surfaced a rare but serious concern — the inexperienced advocate who references a campaign contribution. One Senate legislative director told the CMF the story of a constituent explicitly mentioning the group contributed to the senator after the legislative director failed to make a commitment on the group’s request. The staffer excused herself from the meeting, and asked the visitors to wait. A few minutes later the senator himself appeared and said, as he personally kicked them out of the office, “I’m sending back your check.” That incident happened more than a decade ago, the group has never been allowed back and the senator is still in office.
A bad fly-in meeting is more than just awkward; it can irreparably damage a key relationship on Capitol Hill for years.
Bradford Fitch is the president and CEO of the Congressional Management Foundation.