Gary Peters Fundraiser Has Ties to Petraeus Scandal

Michigan Dem attending fundraiser in Rhode Island has denounced out-of-state donations
Gary Peters

Gary Peters / AP

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A prominent Washington lobbyist with ties to the affair that led to former CIA Director David Petraeus’ resignation in 2013 is organizing a fundraiser for Michigan Democrat Gary Peters.

Gerry Harrington, president of the Capitol City Group (CCG), is a member of the fundraising committee organizing a $100 to $1,000 per plate dinner for Rep. Gary Peters’ Senate bid on Thursday. Harrington, a wind energy and Defense Department lobbyist, is also a major Democratic donor.

Harrington’s love life has made more headlines than his lobbying work. His ex-girlfriend Natalie Khawam is the twin sister of Jill Kelley, the Florida socialite threatened by Petraeus’ mistress. Court filings revealed that Harrington lent $300,000 to Khawam at a time when Kelley was attempting to profit from her relationship with the famed soldier.

The scandal did little to slow Harrington’s business. CCG brought in $450,000 in 2013, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The lobbyists have donated about $25,000 to Democrats in the 2014 cycle.

Harrington is not the only CCG principal on Peters’ fundraising committee—firm vice president Chris Vitale is also helping organize the Thursday fundraiser at Jacky’s Waterplace and Sushi Bar in Providence.

Peters has made out-of-state donations a centerpiece of his campaign, attacking Republican nominee Terri Lynn Land for cozying up to “out-of-state billionaires.” Land’s war chest was about $1 million larger than the Peters campaign, according to April FEC reports.

Peters has helped Harry Reid raise hundreds of thousands of dollars from San Francisco hedge fund billionaire and environmentalist radical Tom Steyer for Reid’s Super PAC, the Senate Majority Fund. That Super PAC has spent more than $2 million on attack ads in Michigan.

Peters’ campaign manager, Paul Tencher, is a native Rhode Islander and has brought out some of the state’s most prominent individuals for the fundraiser. Rhode Island Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse and Jack Reed will host the event, along with Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts. They will be joined by numerous Washington and Rhode Island influence peddlers. Other attendees include:

  • Former DNC policy honcho Donald Sweitzer, whose lobbying firm represents Keystone Pipeline developer TransCanada;
  • Democratic fundraiser Amy Gabarra, who worked for numerous prominent Democrats before starting her own company. Gabarra’s company lost its license in 2012 for failing to file annual reports with the state;
  • Trial lawyers Mark and Zachary Mandell. Mandell Schwartz & Boisclair, the pair’s law firm, has donated $24,000 to Democrats in 2014 thus far;
  • Ken Robinson, director of public policy for the Royal Bank of Scotland and a former top aide to the DNC and Kerry campaign in 2004;
  • Jennifer Bramley, a vice president at cable company Cox Communications;
  • Bill Fischer, Whitehouse’s former chief of staff and a veteran campaign manager

The Peters campaign has not returned requests for comment on the fundraiser.

Update, Tuesday, June 10: The story and headline originally mistakenly described Jill Kelley as Gen. David Petraeus’ mistress. She was actually a Florida socialite who was threatened by Petraeus’ mistress. We regret the error.