Heard on the Hill

Bill Huizenga: Our beer is better than your beer

Michigan Republican touts Grand Rapids brew over Asheville, N.C.

Is Rep. Bill Huizenga, right, talking about beer, Harry Potter or campaign finance with Capitol Hill personality Rick Hohensee? Perhaps we'll find out more as the ethics investigation into the congressman unfolds. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Bill Huizenga’s interview with the Office of Congressional Ethics regarding an investigation into whether he complied with campaign finance rules yielded some other interesting insights about his diet at Harry Potter World and whom he trash-talks with about beer.

During his July 10 interview, the Michigan Republican was asked by OCE what happens when a member of Congress is invited as a special guest to support a colleague’s fundraiser and who benefits from the funds donated.

“I would never do a quid pro quo, but we have ways of donating to fellow members through both leadership funds, as well as campaign funds. Some of these events may have been for campaign, some of them may have been for their leadership funds, depending on the event,” Huizenga told OCE. “So, there’s no one hard and fast way of doing that. There have been times where I’ve been a special guest where it’s been, ‘Hey, here’s a check from my leadership fund.’”

Recounting a 2018 trip to Walt Disney World in Florida, in which the primary sponsor was Minority Whip Steve Scalise, Huizenga, who was the special guest, talked about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at nearby Universal Studios.

“As I recall, there was a meet-up as well in the parks. Again, I’m using a term that has no legal bearing. It’s trying to be descriptive of what we’re doing. 2:00, we’re going to be at Harry Potter World getting a Butterbeer, or at wherever getting snow cones or whatever,” Huizenga said to OCE.

In addition to discussing Butterbeer, apparently Huizenga and Patrick T. McHenry, a North Carolina Republican, have at some point hashed out whose home state has better beer.

“By the way, Grand Rapids had better beer than Asheville, North Carolina, we’ve established this with Patrick McHenry,” Huizenga said.

One of the OCE counsels conducting the interview, Sean Quinn, is from North Carolina and told Huizenga he might not want to get into that conversation on which beer was better. To which, Huizenga told him he should visit Michigan.

“You’d better come to Michigan at Grand Rapids: Beer City, USA. I was a special guest for Patrick’s beer tour; he was a special guest on my beer tour,” Huizenga said.

The House Ethics Committee is currently reviewing Huizenga’s campaign finance matter, which was transmitted from OCE with a recommendation to further review the allegation because there is “substantial reason” to believe that Huizenga’s campaign committee accepted contributions from individuals employed in Huizenga’s congressional office.

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