Brown, 21 Senators Call Mulvaney to Turn Over Meeting Records after ‘Pay to Play’ Comments

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) – ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs – called on Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney to make available documents related to his scheduling policies at OMB and CFPB since his Senate confirmation in early 2017 for public review to determine if he has continued the ‘pay to play’ policy in the Trump Administration. Brown was joined by 21 of his Senate colleagues.

According to news reports, Mulvaney told the group of banking lobbyists that when he served in the House of Representatives: “We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress. If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you’re a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.”

While Mulvaney claimed that he met with South Carolina constituents regardless of their contributions, fulfilling a basic obligation of his job in no way excuses his policy of trading access in exchange for political contributions.

“We agree that Senators and Members of Congress should make every effort to meet with the people from the states we represent. However, we strongly disagree with your policy of accepting meetings based on whether a lobbyist had made campaign contributions,” the Senators wrote.

The Senators went on to write, “Selling access to a Congressional office is unconscionable. Nowhere does the Constitution state that Americans should have to buy their constitutional right to petition the government. This policy, formal or informal, is anti-democratic, unethical; and if it’s not illegal, it should be.”

Joining Brown on the letter are U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tom Udall (D-N.Mex), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.),  Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.).  

 

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The letter can be found here and below.

 

Mick Mulvaney

Director, Office of Management and Budget

725 17th Street, NW

Washington, DC 20503

 

May 10, 2018

Mr. Mulvaney,

We are writing regarding your deeply troubling comments about policies in your Congressional office favoring political donors. We also write to determine whether you have continued this policy into your current positions in the executive branch.

We agree that Senators and Members of Congress should make every effort to meet with the people from the states we represent. However, we strongly disagree with your policy of accepting meetings based on whether a lobbyist had made campaign contributions. In remarks to the American Bankers Association on April 24, 2018, you stated:

We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress. If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you’re a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.

Selling access to a Congressional office is unconscionable. Nowhere does the Constitution state that Americans should have to buy their constitutional right to petition the government. This policy, formal or informal, is anti-democratic, unethical; and if it’s not illegal, it should be.

It certainly runs contrary to rules of the House of Representatives. The House Ethics Manual states:

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 not taken in their official capacity.

We are concerned that you may be continuing this unethical practice as an employee of the executive branch. In your work at the Office of Management and Budget and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the policies you have supported, consistent with those sought by your campaign contributors, are a foreseeable result of this type of influence peddling.

The policy you followed in your Congressional office reserved access for special interests with deep pockets. If this practice carried over into your executive branch work, you may have further damaged faith in our democracy.

So that we can begin to assess whether your decisions at the Office of Management and Budget and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have been subject to undue influence, we request that you immediately make available for public review the entirety of your official schedule, dating back to your confirmation by the Senate. We also request you submit to Congress any documents, instructions to staff, or other communications in your positions at the Office of Management and Budget or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that discuss specific meetings with registered lobbyists, or other private industry representatives, and any documents or communications detailing formal or informal policies for prioritization of meeting requests that will shed light on the scope and depth of this practice.

Please provide these documents to us, in care of the minority staff of the Banking committee, no later than May 18, 2018.

 

Sincerely,