POLITICS

Elizabeth Colbert Busch, ‘political outsider,’ to hit D.C. for lobbyist fundraiser

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the Democratic nominee for Congress in a South Carolina special election, is headed to Washington D.C. for a fundraiser with some of the top liberal lobbyists.

John and Tony Podesta are two of the three people identified as host committee members on the fundraising invitation, which was obtained by The Washington Examiner from a lobbyist. Here’s how The Examiner’s Tim Carney described the Podesta brothers after writing his book, Obamanomics.

“The biggest winner on K Street, though, may be the Podesta Group, co-founded by John Podesta, an Obama confidant who ran the presidential transition team,” Carney wrote. “The firm, with top clients in the healthcare and energy industry among others, is now in the hands of John’s brother Tony, whose 65th birthday party in October was graced by Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The Podesta Group also snatched up the first Obama administration alumnus to pass through the revolving door to K Street that Obama promised to shut down.”

The April 15 fundraiser — donors are asked to contribute up to $10,000 — will also be populated by dozens of Democratic lawmakers. Some are relative moderates, such as Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. Democratic National Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., who leads the Progressive Caucus in the House, ensure that the most liberal wing of the party helps Colbert Busch’s campaign.

Lobbyist-led fundraisers with liberal Democrats are common enough, but this one undercuts Colbert Busch’s brand as a political outsider. Her website emphasizes that she has “pragmatic policies” and the business experience to negotiate with political opponents. “Elizabeth has decided that the dysfunctional display in the halls of Congress must end. She believes that this is our time,” her website explains. That’s the image she should be cultivating in her bid to carry a Republican district.To defeat former Gov. Mark Sanford, R-S.C. — who resigned after an affair made national news — Colbert Busch “must rely on the ability to portray herself as a businesswoman and political outsider, and the potential ability to put together a well-funded campaign,” according to the Rothenberg Political Report. With the Podestas helping her, Colbert Busch should have a solid day with regard to the second point, but it comes at the expense of the first.

 

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