Strickland Campaign Fundraises with Lobbyist, Attorney in Washington, D.C.

Ohio Democrat has received over $250,000 in contributions from Washington, D.C. area

Ted Strickland / AP
May 11, 2016

Ted Strickland’s Senate campaign will fundraise in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday evening after accumulating more than a quarter million dollars from individuals living in and around the nation’s capital.

The Strickland for Senate event, whose hosts include a lobbyist and an attorney, will take place at Bistro Bis, a pricey French restaurant on Capitol Hill, according to the fundraiser invitation. Interested parties will pay between $500 and $2,700 to attend the event. Those who contribute the maximum amount to the campaign will be elevated to "co-hosts."

The event has four hosts, including Bob Hickmott, senior vice president of the Smith-Free Group, a lobbying shop that raked in $5.7 million last year, according to Open Secrets. Sean D’Arcy, a D.C.-based attorney at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld who ran a voter turnout operation for President Obama in Ohio, is also a host. Both individuals previously donated to Strickland’s primary campaign, according to Federal Election Commission records.

While the invitation does not clarify whether Strickland will attend the event, sources told the Washington Free Beacon that he will be there. The campaign did not respond to an inquiry about Strickland’s schedule.

The Washington fundraiser comes as the Strickland campaign ramps up attacks on incumbent Sen. Rob Portman (R.) for being a "Washington insider" beholden to special interests.

"Just like the ultimate Washington insider that he is, Portman is pushing the agenda of the wealthy and the well connected while working Ohioans pay the price, but in the U.S. Senate I’ll fight for our working people because that where I’m from and that’s who I care about," Strickland said in a statement Monday knocking Portman for his votes on trade.

Strickland’s campaign has also launched a website that dubs Portman "Beltway Rob" and accuses him of serving the "Washington power brokers and wealthy special interests."

Meanwhile, the Strickland campaign has benefitted from Washington-area cash. The campaign has raked in more than $266,000 in contributions from individuals living inside the Beltway, according to a Free Beacon analysis of the most recent FEC filings.

These funds do not include more than $22,000 in bundled lobbyist contributions that Strickland’s campaign has accepted from J Street PAC, a liberal Middle East activist group based in D.C.

Several prominent D.C. lobbyists have sent their own funds to Strickland’s campaign, including Heather and Tony Podesta, both of whom are top bundlers for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Strickland has a long history in politics, representing Ohio in Congress and working as the state’s governor from 2007 and 2011. Before launching his Senate bid, Strickland headed the lobbying arm of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C.