Rep. Ralph Abraham arrives at a fundraiser in New Providence, La., on Wednesday. (American Bridge)
With the House in session Wednesday looking for a way out of the longest-running government shutdown in U.S. history, Rep. Ralph Abraham, R-La., was in his home state holding a fundraiser for his gubernatorial run with a campaign donor.
The fundraiser was at least the fourth Abraham has held since the shutdown began on Dec. 22.
Abraham missed votes to reopen the Interior Department and to give back pay to impacted federal employees on Jan. 11, when he traveled to Alexandria, La., for a fundraiser. KALB-TV reported that the suggested donation for the event, which was held at a bank, was $5,000.
A week earlier, though, Abraham said he would be focused on his job in Washington instead of campaigning.
When asked in a radio interview if the shutdown freed up more time to campaign, he responded: “No not at all. I understand my job as a Congressman is to represent the people of the 5th district of Louisiana.” (The comment was first flagged by American Bridge 21st Century.)
There are roughly 6,000 federal workers in Louisiana who aren’t being paid, many of them members of the Coast Guard, according to Governing. Some are resorting to food banks and food stamps to get by, The New Orleans Advocate reported Wednesday.
On Jan. 13, Abraham was scheduled to have an overnight duck-hunting fundraiser in Mangham, La., on Jan. 13, but Abraham had apparently returned to Washington by the next evening in time to vote for the noncontroversial Investing in Main Street Act, which passed, 403-2.
The congressman, whose campaign did not respond to emails seeking comment Wednesday, also held a fundraiser in Monroe, La., on Dec. 27.
Abraham announced his run against Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, last month, weeks after easily winning a third term in the House.
His fundraiser Wednesday was held at the office of a Mississippi River shipping company run by Thomas Gattle Jr., who contributed $5,400 — the maximum allowed — to Abraham’s campaign in 2016 and $2,500 in 2018.
During the three-day government shutdown in January 2018, Abraham attended a black-tie fundraiser for the Republican Party of Louisiana, The Bayou Brief reported.
The congressman’s attendance became public only after Craig Greene, a member of the Louisiana Public Service Commission, posted a photo with Abraham and former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus to social media.