Jamie Raskin for Congress to fight big money corruption in pol...
We're kicking off 2016 with proven reformer Jamie Raskin for Congress! Jamie's dedicated his career to fighting CORRUPTION in politics. Now he's getting outspent by BIG MONEY from special interests.SHARE and donate if you agree: We need a strong VOICE FOR REFORM in Congress! --> http://bit.ly/JamieVideoPosted by MAYDAY.US on Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Maryland Congressional candidate Kathleen Matthews denounced State Sen. Jamie Raskin’s endorsement Monday by a pro-campaign finance reform super PAC that called her “a corporate lobbyist” because of her work for Marriott International.
In an e-mail blast to supporters Tuesday, the Matthews campaign said she has never worked as a lobbyist and accused Raskin supporters of using the Mayday super PAC to launch the first negative ad in the campaign for the 8th Congressional District seat being vacated by Rep. Chris Van Hollen.
“Hiding behind an out-of-state Super PAC, they’re distorting Kathleen’s record and making outrageous false claims,” the e-mail said. “These are tactics we’d expect to see from Republican candidates, but they are more than a little surprising coming from Jamie Raskin, a self-professed reformer.”
Matthews and Raskin are the two leading fundraisers in the Democratic primary field that also includes Dels. Kumar Barve and Ana Sol-Gutierrez, former Obama administration official Will Jawando, former State Department official Joel Rubin and education nonprofit leader David Anderson. Former Democrat Liz Matory is running as an independent.
Mayday is a bi-partisan group founded in 2014 by Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig and political consultant Mark McKinnon as a super PAC with the mission of ending super PACs — independent entities allowed to raise unlimited contributions from corporations and unions and individuals to support candidates or attack their opponents. Such groups are barred by law from coordinating directly with campaigns. Mayday had limited success in 2014, raising $10 million but seeing only two of their candidates win House races.
Mayday said it made Raskin its first endorsement of the 2016 cycle because of his outspoken criticism of current campaign finance laws. Raskin is a law school professor who co-authored an influential book ( “The Wealth Primary”) about campaign finance in the mid-1990s.
In an ad on Mayday’s Facebook page that accompanied the super PAC’s announcement on Monday, CEO Zephyr Teachout called Raskin “the lion for the anti-corruption forces,” running against “old entrenched connected D.C. lobbyist politics.”
“He is taking on Kathleen Matthews, who has been a corporate lobbyist in D.C,” Teachout said.
Matthews, a former WJLA news anchor, left Marriott International last spring after nine years as chief communications and public affairs officer. Her campaign biography said she led the company’s sustainability strategy and worked on improving opportunities at the company for women and the LGBT and minority communities.
House and Senate disclosure records show no registration by Matthews as a lobbyist. They do show Melissa Froehlich, a senior Marriott official, representing the company in favor the H-2B visa program for seasonal non-agricultural workers and travel to Cuba.
Matthews has, however, received contributions from leading Washington lobbyists and figures from the Carter, Clinton and Obama administrations, trading on her decades as a journalist and corporate executive along with her marriage to MSNBC “Hardball” host Chris Matthews.
Raskin declined to comment Tuesday on the ad or any other aspect of Mayday. Asked whether it was unfair to call Matthews a lobbyist, he also declined to comment. In a statement, his campaign manager, Marshall Cohen, said:
“Senator Raskin, as the Matthews campaign knows, has nothing to do, and will have nothing to do, with this or any other Super PAC in America. But Jamie welcomes the opportunity to have a public discussion with Ms. Matthews about his extensive record as a campaign finance reform advocate and his proposals to abolish corporate dark money in our elections, as well as any new ideas she wants to present.”
Teachout, a Fordham law professor and unsuccessful 2014 New York gubernatorial candidate, said Tuesday evening that the issue was not whether Matthews was registered or unregistered.
“What lobbying means broadly to the public is using influence and connections to push through policy,” Teachout said. “It seems that was the space she was occupying.”
Teachout cited a 2014 contribution of $2,600 by Matthews to Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Missouri), who supported legislation favorable to the hotel industry.
Matthews told WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi in July that she worked closely with Blunt and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D- Minn) on legislation to promote international tourism.
“I was making that contribution on behalf of my company saluting what I think is somebody who is willing to work across the aisle to create jobs,” she said.