The Carole King – James Taylor concert tour hit DC last night, and among those crooning along at the Verizon Center to that syrupy boomer anthem, “You’ve Got a Friend,” were a herd of lobbyists and Congress members who chose the occasion to practice the Beltway version of true friendship: A political fundraiser.
The invites went out at $2500 a head, and the Washington money crowd heard their names and came running. Among those looking to see the deep pockets boys one more time were New York representatives Carolyn Maloney, Eliot Engel, and John Hall (he’s “Still the One”!), as reported by the Sunlight Foundation’s marvelous Party Time web site. Maloney’s decision to hold the fundraiser even as she’s knee-deep in final talks over the banking finance reform bill sparked a clever bank shot from her spunky primary foe, ex-hedge fund lawyer Reshma Saujani.
“Despite the fact that other lawmakers have cancelled events during the negotiations, the Maloney campaign doesn’t see anything wrong with giving lobbyists in-depth face time with the chair of the Joint Economic Committee and a member of the conference committee,” crowed a Saujani press release.
Saujani also drives her point home with a soft-edged video attack piece featuring Taylor’s tune behind images of Maloney and Congress as the titles read: “Guess we know who her friends are.”
Asked about the event’s timing, Maloney’s people fired back: “This political attack marks the height of hypocrisy: our opponent, a former hedge fund employee is being bankrolled by the financial services industry while Maloney has a strong, consistent record standing up to the special interests.”
Actually, both candidates have repeatedly hedged on the big stumbling block before Congress right now — just how strict the rules should be dealing with derivatives, those potentially toxic financial instruments which helped crush the world’s economy. Public debate on the bill begins today. The proper background music here is “Tangled Up in Blue,” as written and performed by that other aging boomer troubador, Bob Dylan, who, come to think of it, would probably be happy to play at your next legislative fundraiser if you can up the ante by a few zeros.