Lynn Westmoreland: E-mail wasn’t offer of face time for cash

In trying to find a simpler, more humane way to raise campaign funds in Washington, U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Coweta County, may have stirred up a hornet’s nest.

It all started, the congressman said last night, with a fundraiser at a Keith Urban concert in Washington. Many of his supporters bought tickets and attended – but Westmoreland couldn’t. House votes kept him in the Capitol.

Westmoreland thought it rude of himself not to attend the party that he hosted.

The congressman usually invites lobbyists, representatives of political action committees and other walleted individuals to several such events each quarter. As does virtually every other member of Congress. “Half of them get up, don’t even finish eating, because they’re going to another one,” he said.

So Westmoreland penned an e-mail to donors this week that was picked up by the National Journal. Wrote the Georgia congressman:

I recognize that you have a life outside of politics – family, friends, and home. I am sure that you receive dozens of invitations to breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. There is simply no way that you can fit them all in, and still have time to take your kids to soccer practice or cook dinner for your family. That is why I have decided to try to change the way I approach fundraising in DC.

During this quarter I will have one event for the quarter. I am going to focus all of my energy on this event rather than hosting ten events and calling you multiple times over the quarter.

I recognize that you, your PAC, or your clients may want a more personal conversation. To that end, your participation in my one quarterly event will also include a meeting of your choice outside of this event. That meeting will be at your discretion and convenience. Coffee, breakfast, dinner- let me know what works for you and we will accommodate.

“This is the way I was looking after people’s time,” Westmoreland said. “It was a very simple idea to cut down on people’s confusion.”

Acknowledged the National Journal:

If widely adopted, Westmoreland’s approach could revolutionize the campaign fundraising landscape, which can see upwards of 200 fundraising events per week.

But that last paragraph has raised eyebrows – particularly from the Public Action Campaign Fund, a non-partisan, non-profit group that keeps an eye on the cash that fuels Washington.

Promising a meeting in exchange for cash “is a brazen case of selling access,” the group declared Wednesday. “If it isn’t illegal, it should be.”

Westmoreland denies that he was putting a price on his face time, though he agreed that the wording of the letter may have been inartful.

“You know me better than that. That’s not me selling anything. This is the way I was looking after people’s time,” he said. “It was a very simple idea to cut down on people’s confusion. I was just putting that [last paragraph] in to make it clear that we weren’t trying to avoid anybody. I was trying not to offend.”

Westmoreland said he’s not even sure that the idea of consolidating fundraisers will catch on.

***
Jaye Watson over at 11Alive has picked up on a flaw in a state law that dictates what nursing schools will be recognized in Georgia. Apparently, in its haste to bar graduates of some questionable online nursing programs, lawmakers accidentally prohibited licenses from being issued to graduates of military nursing schools. State Rep. Sharon Cooper, R-Cobb County, said fixing the error will be a top priority in January.

***
Back in the days when he was governor, Zell Miller conducted an intense and personal campaign against the use of the “Snuffy Smith” comic strip by newspapers – which he thought demeaning to hill folk. Miller may be retired, but the campaign continues. From the Associated Press:

A Southern humorist and political candidate who angered Appalachian residents with jokes they considered offensive won’t be allowed to sell CDs in a state park in Kentucky’s hill country.

The Kentucky Department of Parks ordered recordings of comic-turned-politician Robert Farmer off the shelves at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park late Tuesday.

Farmer, who is running for the elected office of agriculture commissioner, drew no laughs from mountaineers with a stand-up routine that stereotypes them as toothless, inbred and living in a place “where cars are up on blocks and houses are on wheels.”

***
And speaking of retirement: Back in 2000, watching the demographic changes in Cobb County, state Rep. Randy Sauder of Smyrna became one of the last Republicans in the state Capitol to switch to the Democratic side of the aisle. He lost his seat.

Sauder is retired now, and has become an artist of a sort. If you are a male of a certain age, born before video games, you’ll remember Erector sets. Sauder has become part of a revival:

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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30 comments Add your comment

honested

October 20th, 2011
12:31 pm

I guess the kicker for westmoreland is if the ONE fundraiser will cost 10 TIMES as much, since I doubt he will be reducing costs for his oddly uncontested campaigns.

BillS

October 20th, 2011
12:31 pm

Westmoreland calls it “inartful.” Maybe. but it sure does sound a lot like offering himself to anyone who gives him money. Of course that’s the way it’s done, and Westmoreland, like Congressmen everywhere, is all about selling himself to anyone who will help pay for his re-election. Anybody for term limits out there?

SAWB

October 20th, 2011
12:34 pm

Please plan to attend a candlelight vigil at the Georgia Capital in an effort to free Snuffy smith and stop the ongoing campaign of censorship. Arrive early and purchase your, “I am Snuffy Smith” t-shirts.

Last Man Laying Down

October 20th, 2011
12:48 pm

Randy’s a great guy and a good person, despite his switching sides. The way a person treats his fellow man is the real measure, not whether one is a Dem or Republican.

Ol' Timer

October 20th, 2011
12:52 pm

Looks to me like the ol’ boy stepped on his scrotum with that “pay for play” email.

tim

October 20th, 2011
1:01 pm

Oh Yea…….Now’s my face to face chance to kick his azz.

Shar

October 20th, 2011
1:09 pm

‘Give me money and I will make myself available to you.’

This is why we need public financing for public elections.

findog

October 20th, 2011
1:21 pm

shoot, I’d pay to get off Graves’ mailing list

td

October 20th, 2011
1:33 pm

I go to events and get face time with my congressman at least once every other month and give him very little money.

90% of all money donated to candidates should only come from within their district and it should be unlimited amount and posted on the internet with the persons name, address and business before said congressma can spend it.

Jack Sprat

October 20th, 2011
1:38 pm

Westmoreland’s fund raising scam is the only initiative that he has shown during his time in congress. He doesn’t do anything, he doesn’t introduce any legislation, he just accepts campaign donations. He doesn’t even know the 10 Commandments but he is willing to back legislation allowing them to be posted in courthouses and outhouses, he would have been great back in the 1830’s as the head of the Know Nothing Party.

td

October 20th, 2011
1:43 pm

Jack Sprat

October 20th, 2011
1:38 pm

” He doesn’t even know the 10 Commandments but he is willing to back legislation allowing them to be posted in courthouses and outhouses,”

And this is the reason they should be part of the educational curriculum. Every child should be about to name all ten before they can get out of HS.

findog

October 20th, 2011
1:44 pm

Jack, if we put the ten commandments on the back of hundred dollar bills maybe more politicians would know what they are

Jon

October 20th, 2011
1:50 pm

I’ll agree to teaching the Ten Commandments when td agrees to teach the Five Pillars of Islam.

td

October 20th, 2011
2:08 pm

Jon

October 20th, 2011
1:50 pm

Is it or is it not true that the Ten Commandments are the basis of our entire legal system?

on the take

October 20th, 2011
2:15 pm

a congressman on the take from big PACs, corporations, lobbyists, contractors…. what else is new. Congress is in the pocket of big contributors–the reason the country is almost bankrupt.

td

October 20th, 2011
2:22 pm

on the take

October 20th, 2011
2:15 pm

Or is it because the vast majority of the people in this country would rather pay attention to American ideal or housewives of *** then who or what their politicians are or are doing? I would make a bet that you can go into any congressional district in this country and 50% of the voters do not even know who their congressperson is.

AtticusFinch

October 20th, 2011
2:24 pm

By my count, only 4 or 5 of the commandments address things that are illegal. It depends how you interpret ‘covet’.

Maybe we should post the 5 Commandments in courthouses.

Cliff

October 20th, 2011
2:44 pm

Regarding the ten commandments and the legal system, our system evolved from the tenets of English common law. As Atticus mentioned, there is some overlap, but the commandments are not “the” basis. Louisiana is unique in that their system is based on the Napoleonic code, so they have some interesting quirks.

jay

October 20th, 2011
2:49 pm

Is it any wonder people are protesting on Wall Street? The only people who have access to OUR
representatives are people with tons of money.

Roekest

October 20th, 2011
3:31 pm

Molehill, meet Jim Galloway. He’ll promote you to mountain in no time.

RGB

October 20th, 2011
4:39 pm

“Is it any wonder people are protesting on Wall Street?”

Yes, it is a wonder due to their incoherent message…..and will remain a wonder for some time.

roughrider

October 20th, 2011
5:03 pm

Westmoreland should have been honest and said that he would meet lobbyist anytime they have cash for him.

Real Athens

October 20th, 2011
5:16 pm

Is this any surprise coming form “3 Commandment Westmoreland”?

TD:

Stay out of the glue. In the United States, law is derived from four sources: constitutional law, statutory law, administrative regulations, and the common law (which includes case law). The most important source of law is the United States Constitution. All other law falls under and are subordinate to that document.

How many time did the framers use the words “God,” or “Creator,” “Jesus,” or “Lord” in the Constitution? Except for one notable instance none of these words ever appear in the Constitution — original nor Amendments. The exception is found in the signatory section, where the date is written: “Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven”.

Just because YOU believe something to be true does not make it so.

The Snark

October 20th, 2011
5:37 pm

Still waiting for Lyn Westmoreland to remember all those pesky commandments …

The Snark

October 20th, 2011
5:40 pm

Real Athens and td: It’s even worse. The Declaration of Independence uses the phrase “Nature’s God.” That one alone would get you tarred and feathered in the Republican primary these days. And don’t get me started on Tom Jefferson’s edited version of the Gospels, where he literally cut out all the parts that he thought were untrue and pasted the rest into a scrapbook …

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BIg Hat

October 21st, 2011
8:16 am

Westmoreland is going to give professional sex workers a bad name.

Alexander

October 24th, 2011
7:24 am

TD asks “Is it true or not true…” about the basis of our laws.
Well, the first of the 10 Commandments says you can’t have any other gods. This is an understandable requirement of a monotheistic religion and God is reasonable to require it.
The 1st Amendment says, however, as a nation, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
So there it the Constitution, people who want to believe there is more than one god are free to do so.
The 2nd Commandment say we can not make idols (graven images) to worship. The Constitution has no such prohibition.
The 3rd Commandment says we cannot take the Lord’s name in vain. A great rule that serves to limit the marginalization of the Deity.
But the 1st amendment says that Congress shall make no law that abridges free speech and there is no exception for this type of swearing.
4th commandment involves keeping the Sabbath holy. As far as I know there are no Federal blue laws, but there are some in the states. Of course various religions (judiasm, for example) have different definitions of the Sabbath.
5th “honor thy father and mother” No laws on this subject. Certainly we have status laws for children under 18, but adults are free to dishonor (and sadly do with alarming frequency) their parents.

Now 6 kill, 8 steal, 9 false witness are found in our laws.

7 adultery is almost gone and never was in the federal law that I can find.
10 coveting is prevalent and not against the law.

So 3 of 10 3.5 if you give some credit to blue laws.

It should be noted that prohibitions on killing, stealing and lying appear in cultures predating the Old Testament.