Bipartisan plunder

Campaign spending in Las Vegas

Hunter drew headlines, but Democrats and Republicans alike partied with campaign cash.
  • Hunter drew headlines, but Democrats and Republicans alike partied with campaign cash.

Congressman Duncan Hunter continues to grapple with a series of Union-Tribune exposés regarding the propriety of his campaign spending in Las Vegas, including an $896 January 11 tab at the Cosmopolitan Hotel’s main bar, “where patrons can drink inside a huge crystal chandelier.”

The Republican is facing an ongoing Justice Department investigation into his use of political money for personal expenses. Meanwhile, other members of the region’s House delegation have been racking up their own share of campaign expenditures, according to data from the Federal Election Commission. On March 31, for instance, La Jolla Democrat Scott Peters spent $5700 at the Lodge at Torrey Pines. The expense, described as covering “catering and facility rental,” was listed as paid for by an in-kind contribution from the super-rich congressman himself. 

Peters also kicked in $4152 for a March 30 catering and rental tab at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club. Other Peters-shouldered fun-sounding campaign costs included a $2850 bill from the Washington Nationals professional baseball team on February 28, and $2130 paid to Waters Catering March 31.

The reelection fund of fellow Democrat Juan Vargas laid out $14,896 for a “golf event” at the Lodge at Torrey Pines on February 20, along with $5760 in greens fees paid to the City of San Diego. The annual winter fundraising blow-out has previously hosted House minority whip Steny Hoyer and offered a “spa option in lieu of golf.”

In Washington, lodging at the Marriot Marquis set the Vargas camp back $3201 on Monday, January 23, three days after inaugural festivities for Donald Trump. Food and beverage at a February 17 Bistro Bis bash near the capitol was $1010. Two days later, Republican congressman Darrell Issa’s Victory Fund laid out $4374 for an “event room and catering costs” at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Del Mar on February 19. Democrat Susan Davis spent $1500 for lodging at Maryland’s Hyatt Regency Baltimore February 6.

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We citizens put our poor legislators through hell. We should be more sensitive to their needs for gourmet food and drink at unreasonably high prices because someone else is paying for it. I mean think about it, we're complaining because they're dropping 5 or 6 large for a meal and cocktails while we have the opportunity for thousands of jobs paying 7.25 an hour anywhere in our great Democracy. Sue Davis only dropped 1500 for a night of sound sleep at a Hyatt. And Issa was so frugal he kept the bill under 5000 for a meal at Ruth's. If only we could get them to be as frugal with our Federal Budget. We are 16 trillion in debt though, maybe they are really biting the bullet and we're just being persnickety. Good job guys, keep up the good work.

Well at least Duncan Jr. few his emotional support bunny in coach instead of first class.

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