Politics

Rep. Massie Seeks K Street Campaign Cash After Blasting Lobbyist

Kentucky GOP lawmaker plans cigar and bourbon bash with downtown denizens this week.

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., is seeking campaign cash from the industry he had some choice words for recently.. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Thomas Massie created a fuss on K Street last week in chastising an unnamed lobbyist whom he said offered to help him raise money to secure a seat on the Ways and Means Committee. But apparently, the Kentucky Republican still wants political donations from K Street — in a smoke-filled room, no less, according to an invitation obtained by Roll Call.

Massie, in a documentary series called “The Swamp,” said a medical device industry lobbyist proposed helping him raise campaign money and assisting him in getting on the tax-writing and health-focused Ways and Means panel, according to a report in Politico.

“I wanted to run out of there,” Massie said, according to a video clip provided by Politico. “After his proposal, I was trying to find a shower. I had to get the scum off.”

Given those comments and Massie’s apparent revulsion, lobbyists said they were surprised Monday to receive an invitation to a Wednesday fundraising event featuring cigars and Kentucky bourbon at the Capitol Hill townhouse of UPS.

But Massie told Roll Call he doesn’t blame lobbyists because they don’t make the rules, and he instead faults party committees such as the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

“The corrupt practice of selling committee assignments is perpetuated by the NRCC, the DCCC and the leadership offices of both parties,” he said in a statement emailed from his spokeswoman. “One thing’s for sure, no lobbyist gives to my campaign expecting to buy a committee assignment because I haven’t given to the NRCC in over 5 years.”

Attendance at the Wednesday event will cost an individual $250, while political action committee donations are $1,000, according to the email invitation. Hosts are asked to provide $2,500 to Thomas Massie for Congress. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates Massie’s re-election race in Kentucky’s 4th District, along the Ohio River, as Solid Republican.

One Republican lobbyist who received the solicitation, but would only share the details on condition of anonymity so as not to get into a public spat with the sitting congressman, said Massie had “a lot of nerve asking lobbyists for money after he proudly and publicly stated he needed a shower after a lobbyist interaction.”

The fundraising invitation lists Massie’s current committee assignments: Transportation and Infrastructure; Oversight and Government Reform; and Science, Space and Technology.

For attendees, just remember: Don’t offer to help him get a seat on Ways and Means.

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