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article imageOp-Ed: McConnell gets political donation from CEO after Senate breakfast

By John Presta     Aug 23, 2014 in Politics
Washington - Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has been accused by his opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, that he spends too much time in Washington, D.C., and not enough time in Kentucky. Sen. McConnell says it is because he fights for the people in the Beltway.
This past July, Sen. McConnell was stuck in Washington, D.C., conducting the people's business and fighting off those uncooperative Democrats. One morning, Sen. McConnell stopped for breakfast at the exclusive Senate Dining Room, exhausted from fighting for the people. Sen. McConnell invited the CEO of Delta Air Lines, Rick Anderson, to join him for breakfast. Shane Goldmacher of the National Journal broke the story.
A week later, checks in the amount of $10,000 were written to the "McConnell Bluegrass Committee" from Rick Anderson and his wife Susan. That wasn't all. Within days of the breakfast, the Delta Air Lines' PAC contributed another $2,500 within days of the breakfast. Over the past two years, Robert Anderson has donated $20,000 to the Kentucky Republican Party. The Delata PAC has also been generous to McConnell with additional donations of $26,500.
Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign money, noted of the meal, "This is the kind of rare access that most of us will never experience."
"Who makes a good enough breakfast companion for a sitting senator in a highly competitive reelection campaign to take time out of their busy day?" Krumholz said. "It never hurts if the person can follow up with a donation, and all the better if it can be a sizable one."
The breakfast was just two friends enjoying a meal. Robert Anderson is a "friend" of McConnell's says spokesperson Allison Moore, who told the National Journal. "Of course not," said the McConnell spokesperson, he didn't solicit cash at the breakfast.
Sen. McConnell's opponent, Ms. Grimes, says "Mitch is out of touch, he drives the dysfunction in Washington, he is more focused on his personal political ambition than the people of Kentucky."
Just recently, McConnell vowed to shut down the federal government in 2015 should he become Senate Majority Leader. President Barack Obama can either see it McConnell's way or risk another GOP-inspired federal government shutdown, all in an appeal to the right-wing base, a group that McConnell desperately needs for votes in November.
He also needs money, lots of it, since his opponent is a world-class fundraiser too who can pick up the phone and call the Clintons at a moment's notice for help in that area. Or call a score of prominent Democrats to help fundraise. In fact, Grimes has out-raised McConnell, which could be a reason for this desperation on McConnell's part, risking fund raising in the exclusive Senate Dining Room.
The enormous pressures of being Senate Minority Leader, coupled with a campaign against a political upstart, makes it difficult for men like Sen. McConnell to get back to Kentucky. Stuck to the Beltway, it is common to kill two birds with one stone. Even if the legality of soliciting campaign funds is in question, such as this case.
The guests of U.S. Senators in the exclusive Senate Dining Room are a secret. This "breakfast meeting" was revealed in an unrelated story in the New York Times.
One morning last month, Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, the minority leader, was dining with Richard H. Anderson, the chief executive of Delta Air Lines. When the two men stood up, Mr. Anderson stopped by the table of Mr. Schumer, who was there having breakfast as well.
The Federal Aviation Administration had begun a ban, since reversed, on flights to Israel. “Fly to Israel!” Mr. Schumer urged Mr. Anderson.
From across the room, Mr. McConnell jokingly warned his guest to steer clear of Mr. Schumer: “Anderson, stay away from him!” he said.
But Mr. Schumer was undeterred. Shouting now, he gamely pressed his point. “Tell him to fly to Israel!” he bellowed.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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