Camp is among at least nine members of the 12-member supercommittee who have scheduled fundraisers this fall, putting them in a position to take money from industry donors at the same time they are helping to decide what to cut from government spending.
Watchdog groups have launched a vocal campaign urging supercommittee members to abandon fundraising while the panel does its work. A bill introduced in the House on Wednesday by Reps. David Loebsack (D-Iowa), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) and James B. Renacci (R-Ohio) would require supercommittee members to immediately disclose any lobbying contacts or campaign contributions while the panel is meeting.
“I think they should stop fundraising altogether right now,” said David Donnelly of Public Campaign Action Fund, which advocates public financing of elections. “The type of work and the scope of it speaks out for a different way of doing things. This should not be business as usual.”
The unusually powerful committee, comprising six Democrats and six Republicans from both chambers of Congress, is tasked with finding up to $1.5 trillion in budget cuts over 10 years by Thanksgiving. If no deal is reached, $1.2 trillion in across-the-board reductions in both defense and non-defense spending will phase in automatically.
The scale of the cuts has set off a frenzy among lobbyists on K Street, including nearly 100 identified by The Washington Post as former employees of supercommittee members.
Some lobbyists and trade groups are also hosting fundraisers such as the one benefiting Camp on Wednesday. A Camp spokeswoman declined to comment.
Five of the panel’s Democrats are linked to upcoming fundraisers, including at least three events for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which is chaired by Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.), the supercommittee’s co-chairman. A Murray spokesman did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
The most active fundraiser on the panel appears to be Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), who has at least five donor events scheduled between now and the panel’s Thanksgiving deadline, according to the Sunlight Foundation tally. One is a “healthcare breakfast” scheduled for Tuesday, the day of the supercommittee’s first public hearing.
Clyburn spokeswoman Hope E. Derrick said all the fundraisers were scheduled prior to his appointment to the supercommittee, adding that “his motivation is doing what is in the country’s best interest, not the best interest of lobbyists or contributors.”