The Campaign Spot

Who Paid for the Big Democratic Pow-wow at Kingsmill?

Uh, guys, if you’re going to ask those on Wall Street who take government funds to watch their spending–and I’m actually on board with that–shouldn’t you be a bit more careful about your own?

Legislators scolded financial executives for holding corporate retreats at posh hotels and now, the House Democratic Caucus is holding a legislative retreat this weekend in Williamsburg, Va. at a luxury spa and golf resort.

We wanted to know who’s picking up the tab—so NBC 4‘s Patrick Preston investigated to find out.

The Congressional Democrats are meeting at the Kingsmill Resort and Spa, where members will pay between $119 and $400 each night for their rooms. But taxpayers pick up the rest of the cost.

Taxpayer dollars are being spent for transportation—a chartered Amtrak train—and security to protect members of Congress, as well as facility and speaker fees.

When Preston asked the spokesperson for the Democratic Caucus for the total taxpayer expense, he was told that no one had that answer.

Democratic Caucus spokeswoman Emily Barocas said they don’t have to report the costs until April, but The Hill newspaper in Washington reported that previous Democratic retreats have cost taxpayers more than $500,000 over the past five years.

Barocas also said, “We are conscious of the image of the retreat. This isn’t a chance to relax and get massages,“ adding that Kingsmill was chosen because it could accommodate a large group as the Democrats set their legislative agenda.

She also defended using taxpayer money by saying, “Republicans use lobbyists to fund their retreats. We feel that’s unethical. We split the costs.”

If you want to push back against charges that you’re wasting taxpayer money, try meeting closer to your offices in Washington.

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