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.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.