Online magazine The Intercept issued a scorching report yesterday detailing how BGR Group, a corporate lobbying firm with ties to the Republican Party, is hosting a fundraising event in Washington this evening for Representative Joseph Crowley, a long-time Democratic incumbent serving New York’s 14th Congressional District.
The news comes as Crowley, whose district includes portions of Queens and the Bronx, faces an unexpected reelection challenge from a first-time candidate in NY's contentious Democratic Party primaries next week, his first primary challenge since 2004.
BGR Group was founded by former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour, who was also chairman of the Republican National Committee.
The firm has repped Raytheon, Huntington Ingalls, Eli Lilly and Co., Cardinal Health and United Technologies. Foreign government clients have included Bahrain, Somalia and Ukraine.
The Intercept reports that BGR Group was “one of the few lobbying outfits to donate directly to Donald Trump’s campaign.”
The event, which is allegedly an attempt to drum up some last-minute campaign cash, arguably provides some bad PR messaging for Crowley’s brand, in an election where two politicos have sparred over who's the true “progressive” candidate in a district that’s 85 percent Democrat.
Crowley’s challenger is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old firebrand who was formerly an organizer for Bernie Sanders’ campaign. A Bronx native, Ocasio-Cortez has lit up the local news cycle in recent weeks with her progressive platform, which includes rejecting all corporate donations, an expansion of Medicare, a federal jobs guarantee, tuition-free public college and a complete shutdown of ICE. If elected, she’d be the youngest Congressperson ever.
Crowley, who’s favored to beat Ocasio-Cortez, has billed himself as an experienced D.C. insider with an “F rating” from the NRA who can go the distance in helping voters fight President Trump.
A 10-term incumbent, Crowley has been a U.S. Rep. since 1999 and is currently the fourth-ranking House Democrat and a member of the Ways & Means Committee. He also chairs the House Democratic Caucus and the Queens Democratic Party.
Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign has labeled Crowley as an establishment Democrat who lives in D.C. and takes large sums of money from corporate lobbyists.
The BGR fundraiser comes with an attendance price of $500 minimum for individuals and $1,000 for political action committees, the Intercept reports.
Crowley, 56, was also blasted yesterday in an opinion piece by the New York Times editorial board for recently failing to show up for two primary debates with Ocasio-Cortez, a move the board posited might lead voters to wonder: “what are we, chopped liver?”
The Intercept was launched in February 2014 by First Look Media, a news organization backed by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.