U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson is mentioned in a New York Times story about a loophole in the law that allows lobbyists and lawmakers to bond at exclusive vacation locales.
Says the story:
“This is the world of destination fund-raisers, where business interests blend with pleasure in exclusive vacation venues. Lobbyists go to build relationships with lawmakers, Democrats and Republicans alike, seeking action — and often inaction — in Washington for their clients and companies, with millions of dollars at stake. While approval ratings are at historic lows for members of Congress, their allure to those seeking influence in the nation’s capital is as strong as ever.”
A 2007 scandal over getaways for lawmakers paid for by lobbyists led to some law changes, but there’s a workaround, the story says:
“Political campaigns and so-called leadership PACs controlled by the lawmakers now pay the expenses for the catering and the lawmakers’ lodging at these events — so they are not gifts — with money collected from the corporate executives and lobbyists, who are still indirectly footing the bill.”
Weekends at tony Vail resorts are mentioned, as are spa weekends in Las Vegas and a beach getaway in Puerto Rico.
Peterson gets mentioned lower in the story:
The fund-raising events that are not in the lawmakers’ home states often dovetail with their hobbies. Representative Aaron Schock, Republican of Illinois and an avid skier, made the trip this month to Vail, for example, while Representative Collin C. Peterson, Democrat of Minnesota, has hunted turkeys in Florida, geese in Texas and quail in Georgia over the last three years, according to invitations sent to lobbyists. (Neither lawmaker responded to a request for comment.)