April 10, 2012

Corporations And Universities Hold $700-A-Plate Private Breakfast For Retiring Lawmakers In Capitol

On March 29th, the New England Council — a “non-partisan alliance of businesses, academic and health institutions, and public and private organizations throughout New England” that bills itself as “New England’s voice on Capitol Hill for more than 85 years” — held a private breakfast inside one of the buildings that houses the offices of the House of Representative. The stated purpose of the breakfast — which cost a whopping $700 a person ($500 for membres of the Council) to get access to — was to “honor” four retiring lawmakers: Reps. John Olver (D-MA) and Barney Frank (D-MA) and Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT).

Although we were not able to gain access to the breakfast itself due to the high price tag, we did station ourselves outside the fundraiser and took some video of the various guests leaving. They ranged from representatives from colleges like Drexel University to staffers with major energy corporations like NRG Energy. Watch our video:


Because the name tags on the individuals leaving the breakfast are not easily visible on the video, we also jotted down some of the businesses and universities who attended: Fallon Community Health, Harvard Pilgrim Health, Salem State University, VOX Global, Foley Hong LLP, Novo Nordiak, State Street Corporation, NRG Energy, Repsol Energy North America, Pricewaterhousecoopers, Rasky Baerlin Strategic Communications, Drexel University, AAA Southern New England, TRC Companies.

These are only the organizations we were able to personally identify — there were many more at the breakfast. It is possible that some of these groups attended this exclusive breakfast to scout out potential employees (the retiring lawmakers) to conduct their Washington lobbying and public affairs, or to talk up their legislative agendas with members of Congress and staff.  They certainly could have gotten a better deal on breakfast.