For $15,000, “platinum” donors were guaranteed seven in-person meetings with Idaho Republican Senator Mike Crapo at various luxury resorts around the country or in Washington, DC. You also got two 30-minute telephone briefings from the Senator himself.
“Gold” donors, got to go on a fishing trip from Solomon’s Island, Maryland with the Senator. Or you could go golfing in Florida with Crapo.
At the “silver” level, for donations of $10,000, you got a lot of the perks of a “platinum” member, except you only got one ticket to the Idaho Potato Fest Reception on December 8 in Washington. (Kinda doesn’t seem worth being a platinum member, does it?)
Senator Mike Crapo has a literal menu of options guaranteeing access to him, spelled out on a donation sheet for his campaign, Business Insider reports. The more you spend, the more access you get, including personal meetings with the Senator.
While it’s not uncommon for politicians–Democrats and Republicans alike–to provide tickets to events where the politician is speaking or appearing, like a charity golf tournament or a Party dinner, the specific acknowledgement of personal access to Crapo goes far beyond what is typically allowed–and may violate Senate ethics rules on pay-for-play access for lobbyists, special interest groups and wealthy donors.
“This is a particularly vulgar display of what campaign fundraising from large donors is all about,” said Craig Holman, a government-affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen, a liberal advocacy group that supports public financing of political campaigns. “He’s offering a whole package of access to the very wealthy, and the more you give, the more he will listen to you.”
The 70-year-old Crapo has represented Idaho in the Senate since 1999; before that, he was a member of the House of Representatives for three terms. He’s up for reelection in 2022, so donors better hurry if they want their ticket to the Idaho Potato Fest Reception.