Strong drinks, stout lobbyists

Juan Vargas
  • Juan Vargas

It hasn’t taken very long for freshman Democratic congressman Juan Vargas to hit the Washington fundraising circuit. According to a recent online invite from the Juan Vargas for Congress Committee, posted by the Sunlight Foundation’s Party Time website, the $1500-per-guest breakfast is set for February 15 at Johnny’s Half Shell on North Capitol Street, Northwest, near Capitol Hill. “Using organic produce, poultry, meat and sustainable seafood, Johnny’s continues to delight Washington diners with its seafood specialties and strong drinks,” says the restaurant’s website. “With lively jazz and blues playing in the background, three happy hours Monday through Friday and free validated parking nightly, the Half Shell is rocking the Hill.” For high-rolling lobbyists who want to check in a little higher in Vargas’s pecking order, willing event “sponsors” can fork over $2500, and hosts $5000. When last we checked, the Vargas congressional fund owed $55,000 to the candidate for personal loans he made to the campaign, and $25,000 to the Primacy Group, run by Larry Remer, the San Diego campaign consultant and longtime Vargas political intimate. Contributors have included Gregg Rothschild, managing director of the Glover Park Group, a Washington, D.C.–based lobbying outfit that performed $20,000 of work for Solyndra, LLC, the now-bankrupt solar-panel maker at the center of 2011’s $535 million Energy Department loan-guarantee scandal.

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