Democrat LuAnn Bennett, a candidate for Congress in Virginia, is traveling to California on Friday to attend a Napa Valley fundraiser headlined by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Bennett will join a number of Democrats from across the U.S. who are vying for a House seat this November. The congressional hopefuls are scheduled to rendezvous with Pelosi during the "lunch and wine pairing" on a vineyard estate, the National Republican Congressional Committee reported Thursday.
Bennett is mounting a bid against Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock, a freshman congresswoman in Virginia’s suburban 10th district located outside of Washington, D.C.
Bennett, a real estate agent, was accused in May of evading D.C. taxes over the past several years.
In a letter to the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue, the conservative watchdog Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, or FACT, wrote that Bennett lived in her Washington condo long enough to be legally classified as a resident but avoided paying taxes.
Bennett has owned a $1.35 million condo at the D.C. Ritz-Carlton hotel less than a mile from her real estate company, Bennett Group, since February 2014. D.C. law requires anyone who has lived in the nation’s capital for at least 183 days to pay taxes in the District.
She also owns a 100-acre farm in Delaplane, Va. and in December 2015 began renting a home in McLean, Va.
She said in January during a campaign event that she has paid taxes in Virginia for 35 years, but FACT argued in its lawsuit that this could only be true if Bennett lived outside of D.C. for 183 days between 2014 and 2015.
The NRCC said Bennett’s fundraising trip reflected her "lavish lifestyle," questioning why the Democratic House candidate would travel to Napa Valley during her campaign when Virginia is home to more than 230 wineries.