Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney hosted a fundraiser in conjunction with a James Taylor and Carole King concert last night, one of six House members to hold fundraisers surrounding the reunion concert.
But Maloney was the only one who sits on the conference committee that’s currently hashing out the financial reform bill — a fact that wasn’t lost on her primary challenger, Reshma Saujani, who accused the Congresswoman of selling access during an important week of negotiations.
“The financial reform bill is too important to get wrong,” Saujani said in a statement. “Right now, some on the conference committee are allowing lobbyists — and the same people who caused the crisis — to write the legislation. It’s time for Carolyn Maloney to step up and start leading.”
Maloney’s campaign says the fundraiser was planned well in advance, and was booked before she was named to the conference committee. Her campaign also cited Maloney’s history fighting for harsher credit card restrictions — among other consumer protections — as evidence that she isn’t beholden to the financial services industry.
But other committee members have been more cautious. Earlier this month, Barney Frank canceled a fundraiser that had been scheduled for the same morning committee deliberations were set to begin, a decision that came shortly after eight legislators received inquiries from the Office of Congressional Ethics for raising money in the waning days of the House deliberations on the bill. Frank cited “optics” in explaining his decision.
(The Saujani camp does not accuse Maloney of having actually broken any rules. The House ethics manual says only that: “The Standards Committee has long advised Members and staff that they should always exercise caution to avoid even the appearance that solicitations of campaign contributions are connected in any way with an action taken or to be taken in their official capacity.”)
Saujani’s release trumpeted her personal prohibition against corporate PAC money, although Wall Street presents a perpetually tricky issue for the young hopeful, who has received considerable backing from the financial services industry — many of whom live in the 14th Congressional district.
“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 consistent record of standing up to the special interests,” said Maloney’s press secretary, Alix Anfang, in a statement. “Saujani has failed to gain traction because New Yorkers recognize Maloney’s strong record of accomplishments. With no record of her own to run on, our opponent continues to run a desperate campaign.”
Saujani’s camp couldn’t resist playing up the James Taylor connection in their video: