Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland on Thursday defended fundraising plans that drew fire from a government watchdog group, telling the Alley that the event was legal and would go forward as planned.
On Tuesday, Westmoreland sent an email to supporters inviting them to his only fundraiser of the quarter, a move designed to cut down on the number of events and solicitations. Participation in the event included a separate meeting with Westmoreland at the donor's convenience. Public Campaign Action Fund criticized Westmoreland for selling access to his office and questioned the event's legality.
In an emailed statement, Westmoreland said "our new fundraising strategy has nothing to do with meetings." Spokeswoman Leslie Shedd added that "because he's only having one fundraiser a quarter and he knows that people may not be able attend, he wants to give them an opportunity to meet with him at a later date."
Westmoreland's full statement:
The way we are organizing the event is legal and in compliance with FEC regulations. The concept behind the once-a-quarter fundraiser was to free up time in my schedule for my official duties as a United States Congressman and to make the hectic fundraising schedule a little less demanding on others. I have always had an open-door policy and will continue to do so. Our new fundraising strategy has nothing to do with meetings. It is only a shift in the number of fundraising events we hold, and perhaps the letter could have been worded differently to make that more clear.