UPDATE: Dewhurst Campaign Says Podesta Group Meeting Was No Fundraiser

After our story yesterday regarding David Dewhurst’s attendance at what had been described as a fundraiser held by the Podesta Group at the Podesta townhouse, Dewhurst’s campaign contacted us with additional information.

Here’s what Dave Beckwith of Dewhurst for Texas had to say:

First, there were no funds solicited or raised during Lt. Gov. Dewhurst’s trip to Washington Nov. 20-22.  He was invited to use the Podesta townhouse not by Tony Podesta, but by Republicans who work for the Podesta Group.   All 17 names on the invitation (attached) to this meet-and-greet have Republican backgrounds, and there were no Democrats.   The Podestas did not attend the event, nor did either donate any money to Dewhurst, nor do we expect them to do so at any future time.

If all this is true, that would put the Sunlight Foundation on the hot seat, since it was that non-profit organization that first reported Dewhurst’s supposed fundraiser. The Dewhurst campaign did provide a long list of Republican members of the Podesta Group who attended, although they did not address why they were using the Podesta Group in the first place to make GOP connections. They added that no money changed hands during the event – an assertion for which there is no evidence to the contrary.

James Bernsen of the Ted Cruz campaign responded:

The facts are clear — did David Dewhurst fly to DC to hold a fundraiser at the home of Obama Crony Tony Podesta? Absolutely. Were there donors present with a strong record of ‘bipartisanship’? Sure, that’s where David Dewhurst is right at home. And is there any doubt how Dewhurst would cast his lot in Washington? In Texas, Dewhurst has always ‘reached across the aisle’ to support higher spending and push a state income tax, and in DC he fits right in in the private home of one of the top Democratic lobbyists in the city — the man whose brother led the Obama transition team. The essence of an establishment moderate, David Dewhurst won’t ever lead the fight against the Obama agenda… especially not from Tony Podesta’s living room.

Bernsen added that some of the donors listed on the Podesta invite “worked for Lincoln Chafee, Mike Castle, and Tom Davis … among the most liberal Republicans in the modern era.”

But the Dewhurst campaign struck back, going on the offense against the Cruz campaign. They pointed out that Dewhurst’s fundraising has been largely Texas based, and notes that Ted Cruz’s campaign has been funded by sources outside Texas (although the Dewhurst campaign did not dispute that Cruz’s donors have largely been smaller than Dewhurst’s). They also claimed that Washington-based “interest groups have not only bundled for Cruz, but have spent close to $1 million thus far on anti-Dewhurst advertising, whereas Dewhurst has received no assistance whatsoever thus far from outside organizations.” Cruz’s campaign points out that these Washington interest groups are conservative groups like Club for Growth and FreedomWorks, and that Cruz’s Washington connections are people like Jim DeMint and Rand Paul.

There’s much more to this battle, and we’ll bring it to you as it develops.


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