Mike Enzi and Conflicts of Interest

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Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) sent a letter to President Obama raising questions about the possible conflict of interest coming from the decision to allow cabinet secretaries like Kathleen Sebelius to appear at events held by the Obama-aligned super PAC and attended by the committee’s big donors.

His concerns are legitimate--but he does the same kind of thing every single day.

Here’s just one example.

On October 20th, 2011, Sen. Enzi released a press statement about his decision to sponsor legislation that would repeal the Dodd-Frank Act, financial reform legislation passed in the wake of the economic collapse.

On October 19th and October 20th, Sen. Enzi was scheduled to host fundraisers for his Making Business Excel leadership PAC. While it’s not known who attended these events—we do know who made donations to the committee right before and after. On October 9th, he received a $2,500 from the Goldman Sachs PAC. On November 22nd, the PAC got a $2,500 donation from PricewaterhouseCoopers PAC. Both companies lobbied on Dodd-Frank implementation issues in 2011 and would benefit from weakened Wall Street regulations.

Did those donations impact his opinions on issues like Wall Street reform in the Senate? When his colleagues in the House and Senate do the same thing as cabinet secretaries for super PACs helping them, will he send them similar letters?

Here at Public Campaign Action Fund, we know that elected officials are stuck in a bad system. Fortunately, many push for reform—legislation like the Fair Elections Now Act, updates to the presidential public financing system, increased transparency, and efforts to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. I’ll give Sen. Enzi the benefit of the doubt that he’s genuinely concerned about cabinet secretaries meeting with campaign donors. If he is, though, he needs to do more than just send harshly worded letters. He needs to support and advocate for legislation that will sever the ties between elected officials and campaign donors.

We’d be happy to meet with the Senator or his staff to talk about these reforms.