Rehberg raises ethics questions with lobbyist-run fundraising committee

DC Lobbyist Mark Valente removed from BOOT PAC after Abramoff corruption scandal

BILLINGS, Mont.– Lobbyist-turned-Congressman Dennis Rehberg’s recently exposed ties to the lobbying industry are prompting new questions about his decision to have a DC lobbyist run his political fundraising committee—despite an outcry from independent watchdog groups.

When Rehberg founded his political fundraising committee, BOOT PAC, he hired lobbyist Mark Valente to run it.

Hiring lobbyists to run political fundraising committees raises ethics questions among watchdog organizations.

The Center for Public Integrity warned the practice allows lobbyists to influence “members of Congress while also controlling donations that finance their campaigns.”

Valente even admitted in 2005 that “Members [of Congress] are looking for people they can trust and (lobbyists) want to help our friends out.”

Prior to working for Rehberg, Valente raised money for disgraced former House Majority Leader Tom Delay and helped to cover costs for Delay’s criminal defense fund following the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.

Rehberg removed Valente from BOOT PAC in the wake of the Abramoff scandal, claiming he was concerned about the “appearance” of impropriety [Helena IR, 2/9/06].

“Congressman Dennis Rehberg’s long career in Washington is marked by wrong priorities, like keeping close ties to lobbyists despite serious ethical questions,” said Montanans for Tester spokeswoman Alexandra Fetissoff. “Montana deserves better than an ethically challenged politician like Dennis Rehberg; we deserve accountability.”

Rehberg recently told the American League of Lobbyists that he relies on lobbyists for information, and the “revolving door” between his office and DC lobbyists does not make him nervous.

More information about Rehberg’s questionable ties to lobbyist Mark Valente, including other political action committees that were allegedly used to launder money, is online HERE.