What? ME?! Oh, you shouldn’t have…
Last year, Republican Congressman Dan Benishek headlined a One Nations PAC “Scotch and Cigars” fundraiser. This year, he was again listed on the invitation as being an honoree. This prompted a press release by the Michigan Nurses Association and an online petition by Progress Michigan. Here is a bit of the press release:
Michigan Nurses Challenge Congressman to Donate the Price of
Admission for Fundraiser to Local Clinic Helping Families in Need
OKEMOS – Congressman Dan Benishek (R-Crystal Falls) is set to headline a $1,000 per person “Scotch and Cigars” PAC fundraiser Thursday night in Washington, D.C. The event is hosted by the One Nation PAC, which bills itself as a conservative political action committee dedicated to “common sense healthcare.” According to the invite for the event, attendees are entitled to “a cigar and an open selection of whiskey and wine.”
In response, the Michigan Nurses Association today called on Dr. Benishek to donate $1,000 – the price of admission to the reception – to a local health care clinic in Michigan’s first Congressional District that serves low-income and families unable to afford health care coverage.
“Just when you thought Dr. Benishek couldn’t be anymore out of touch with his constituents, he headlines a wine-and-dine fundraiser with Grover Norquist and Washington elites,” said John Karebian, executive director of the Michigan Nurses Association. “While millionaire surgeon Congressman Benishek is smoking cigars and downing whiskey with campaign donors in Washington, Michigan residents back home continue to struggle to pay for basic necessities such as their medical bills.
“Michigan nurses believe that Dr. Benishek should be in his district dealing with his constituents’ hardships, not constantly catering to the 1 percent. We’re calling on Dr. Benishek to donate his ticket price to a local health care clinic in Northern Michigan that is working to fill the void of Benishek’s absence – helping struggling families get the basic medical care they need.”
Benishek immediately denied knowing anything about it despite having been at last year’s event. In an MLive.com article, he claims he never agreed to attend.
U.S. Rep Dan Benishek (R-Crystal Falls) had no knowledge of a “scotch and cigars” fundraising event in Washington, D.C. his staff said Wednesday amid criticism from liberal groups.
The Michigan Nurses Association issued a press release Wednesday accusing Benishek of attending a $1,000-per-ticket event instead of attending to constituents in Michigan.
Liberal group Progress Michigan followed suit with an online petition.
But Benishek’s staff said not only was the Congressman not attending the fundraiser arranged by the One Nation PAC, he had no knowledge of it.
“Dr. Benishek will be traveling to Michigan after votes this week and will not be at this event,” spokesman Kyle Bonini said. “More importantly, neither Dr. Benishek nor his scheduler nor his chief of staff received an invitation or notice to this event. This office never confirmed his attendance at this event nor ever accepted him being ‘honored.'”
Benishek’s name mysteriously disappeared from the online invitation sometime yesterday. Here’s a screenshot from before the scrubbing:
[Click for larger version. Image courtesy of Progress Michigan.]
This prompted this response from Progress Michigan:
Why is Benishek Running Away From One Nation PAC?
Listed as an honorary member, Congressman now says he doesn’t
know a thing about being honored at controversial PAC fundraiser
LANSING – Despite being listed on the official event invitation as an honorary member on a $1,000 per host “Scotch and Cigars” fundraiser hosted by the right-wing One Nation PAC in Washington, D.C., Congressman Dan Benishek is now back-peddling, telling Mlive today that he never heard of the event.
Benishek, however, was honored last year at the same One Nation PAC event hosted annually during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Last year’s invitation posted on the Sunlight Foundation’s website lists Dr. Benishek as one of three lawmakers associated with the event. One Nation PAC bills itself as a conservative political action committee dedicated to “conservative principles.” According to the invitation for the event, attendees are entitled to “a cigar and an open selection of whiskey and wine.”
“Dr. Benishek needs to come clean with his constituents and tell them why he’s headlining fundraisers in smoke-filled rooms instead of addressing their concerns,” said Mitchell Rivard of Progress Michigan. “Despite being honored last year and being listed this year as an honorary member on the invitation, he claims he knows nothing about the event. Why is Dr. Benishek running away from his right-wing donors?”