Pryce and Abramoff

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The headline of this blog posting will tick off Ohio Congresswoman Deborah Pryce (R). She's the one, a week ago or so, called disgraced lobbyist and DeLay-pal Jack Abramoff, who told the Columbus Dispatch, "We think he is a creep, and we hate him."

That got me thinking. Didn't Pryce throw fundraisers at Abramoff's restaurant? A few emails later with a helpful research hand found the goods. More than $13,000 in expenditures at Signatures, the swank restaurant at which congressional staffers (and some members, too) were allowed to run up large tabs on the house.

Her office's response, courtesy of Jonathan Riskind of the Dispatch, was not very convincing:

Republican Rep. Deborah Pryce, of Upper Arlington, might not like indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, but she didn’t mind spending money in his restaurant.

So said David Donnelly, of the Public Campaign Action Fund, a liberal-leaning watchdog group, last week after Pryce was quoted in The Dispatch calling Abramoff a "creep."

But a Pryce spokesman said the use of Signatures for fundraisers and other events is determined only by its convenient location to Capitol Hill. Abramoff sold his interest in the watering hole this summer.

Records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics and Federal Elections Commission show Pryce’s political action "leadership" committee and her re-election committee spent more than $13,000 at Signatures during the past few years, including $2,392 for a fundraiser in May.

"Is the drive for money that all-consuming that she would hold a fundraiser at his restaurant?" Donnelly asked.

Sean Spicer, a Pryce spokesman, said that going there was a matter of convenience.