Did U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton solicit campaign support Monday night from inside the Capitol, which ethical rules don’t allow? He says no. Conservative radio talk host Hugh Hewitt, a steady cheerleader for Cotton, the Club for Growth’s extremist candidate, left that impression during an interview with Cotton Monday night as debate over a government shutdown continued.
Cotton says Hewitt didn’t know he’d left the House cloakroom to walk outside the building, thus making the campaigning all hunky dory.
Huffington Post has the story, with all the back and forth. Legal or not, Tom Cotton is on the make with the far-right community and isn’t going to miss an opportunity to work it, even if it means ducking outside the Capitol during a historic debate to beg for money. From an account by Cotton’s own spokesman, it would have taken some fancy footwork for him to get outside prohibited quarters for the first of three interviews Hewitt conducted with Cotton Monday night, in all of which he said he was speaking with Cotton in the House cloakroom. If it’s true that Cotton had left the building, he never corrected Hewitt on the point.
The Pryor campaign comments:
Tom Cotton has some serious questions to answer tonight. A breaking report by The Huffington Post raises the distinct possibility that Cotton violated House ethics rules and federal law by soliciting campaign contributions from inside the U.S. Capitol Monday evening, just as the chamber considered on 11th-hour efforts to avert a government shutdown.
While Cotton himself has yet to comment on this developing story, the various explanations given to The Huffington Post on his behalf contain glaring discrepancies, all of which indicate an even more serious problem for Cotton than the optics of repeatedly plugging his political campaign with a government shutdown imminent.
You’ll remember Cotton missed some votes recently when he slipped out of town to attend a Houston, Texas fund-raiser run by a former top official of the Club for Growth, the anti-tax lobby of wealthy people including financial empire heir Jackson T. Stephens Jr. of Little Rock. It is a major force behind the extremist move to shut down government rather than allow Obamacare to go forward.