The Congressional committee tasked with cutting federal spending holds another public hearing this afternoon. They want to hear the ideas of former budget-cutters, Erskine Bowles, Alan Simpson, Alice Rivlin and Pete Domenici. Most of the work has been done behind closed doors in order to make real headway, say leaders from both parties.
Even with as many as two meetings a day, some group members have still had time to raise money for their upcoming campaigns.
Congressman James Clyburn, a member of the Committee of 12, says yes, he has been campaign fundraising while serving on that high-powered panel.
He told media that he is getting attention for it in a McClatchy article because he publishes this information and holds official fundraisers instead of working the phones. He says his efforts have raised less this year, as opposed to others, like Co-Chair Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas).
“I raised $200,000 less during my time in this period. Hensarling raised $100,000 more than he raised before. Not one mention of that in this story. This story is written as if Jim Clyburn is doing something untoward and the only one out there doing that. I have a lot of small fundraisers and I guarantee you if you check, you will see there are six Republicans on the group and that every one of them raised much more money than I did,” said Clyburn.
A reporter asked if he ever considered not fundraising during this period, for appearances sake.
“I don’t see anything wrong with it, I’m transparent. I post what I am doing. And everybody can come to the table,” he responded.
Those tables are usually serving grits and eggs, added Clyburn, because he prefers breakfast fundraisers with few people at a time.
As to whether the donors influence his decisions, he said he has a steady stream of people coming into his offices every day asking for their programs to be spared in cuts.
“I’m influenced by the people who come up to me and tell me about not being able to get their kid back into school cannot get their kid back into school because the family’s lost jobs. I’m influenced by people who tell me they have to decide between whether or not to get their pharmaceuticals or eat. That’s what influences me — and they don’t come to fundraisers,” Clyburn said.
The panel must reach an agreement to send to the full Congress by November 23 of this year. Otherwise, $1.2 trillion of pre-designated cuts will go into effect.