Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., held a fundraiser for his re-election campaign at a lobbying firm’s Washington office Wednesday as a partial government shutdown that has left some 800,000 federal workers without paychecks entered its 26th day.
Gardner’s campaign asked for contributions between $500 and $2,700 from individuals and $1,000 and $5,000 from political action committees to attend the fundraiser, according to an invitation to the event obtained by the American Ledger.
The fundraiser was hosted by Covington and Burling, a lobbying firm whose clients in 2018 included BP America Inc., Merck & Co., Microsoft Corp., Northrop Grumman Corp., Shell Oil Co. and Walmart Inc.
The firm’s PAC doles out hundreds of thousands in campaign contributions every election cycle, according to OpenSecrets.
A tracker for American Bridge 21st Century asked Gardner why he was fundraising during the shutdown, but the senator didn’t respond.
It was at least the second high-dollar fundraiser in Washington that Gardner has attended during the shutdown. On Jan. 9, Gardner attended a fundraiser hosted by the PAC of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, another lobbying firm.
A spokesman for Gardner, who is facing re-election next year, told The Denver Post last week the senator would donate his salary to charity if the federal workers who aren’t being paid during the shutdown don’t receive back pay.
Gardner promised to do the same during a shutdown in 2013, when he was a member of the House, but his office declined to provide proof that he did so when asked by reporters.
The Denver Post reported at the time that Gardner said he would donate the $7,700 he collected during the shutdown to the Weld County Food Bank and other charities in his district.
Most of the members of Congress who pledged to donate or give back their salaries provided proof to The Washington Post. Gardner did not. In December, the Colorado Times Recorder, a progressive news outlet, asked his office again for proof but received no response.