Where was Sheldon Whitehouse in 2012?
Today, Sen. Whitehouse is alleging that Scott Pruitt is violating the Hatch Act by attending an Oklahoma GOP fundraiser, but he didn’t say a word when many of President Obama’s Cabinet Secretaries crisscrossed the country supporting his re-election campaign five years ago.
Back in 2012, Politico reported that members of President Obama’s Cabinet had made “more than 85 trips” to political swing states and two Cabinet Secretaries – Shaun Donovan and Arne Duncan – engaged in “off-the-clock fundraising and massaging of local donors.”
“Three online fundraising solicitations from the Obama campaign used the names of Duncan and Donovan for recent events.”
“At issue are the online versions of invitations for a Chicago event Duncan appeared at in March with singer John Legend and a Boston event in mid-May, as well as the notice for Donovan’s participation in a Cambridge fundraiser in late May with Rep. Barney Frank.”
On top of that, Politico noted that Cabinet officials attended fundraisers in 2014 for Democrat Senate candidates:
But sometimes the schedule works out. Last week, Vilsack took three days out of his schedule to fly up to Alaska — where polls show Sen. Mark Begich lagging — to announce $352 million in USDA loans and grants to 110 communities across the country to assist in the construction or repair of vital water and waste water projects. While there, he also appeared at a fundraiser for Begich, but that and the other five political events he’s done over the course of the year were all billed separately to the campaigns.
Secretaries are still free to do political events on their own time, with the campaigns footing the bill, and the handful that Foxx has done are more than most: fundraisers for Begich, Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) and the Michigan Democratic Party. Last weekend, he quietly popped back home to North Carolina to do a little stumping for Sen. Kay Hagan.
Sen. Whitehouse’s claims are clearly baseless and reek of bitter partisanship since he never complained about Cabinet Secretaries raising money for fellow Democrats. The motive for his insane and unsubstantiated charges must be the nearly $180,000 he has received in campaign cash from out-of-touch environmentalist groups that are dead-set against reforms to an out-of-control EPA.