Scott Peters, Joe Crowley, Juan Vargas
Two members of San Diego’s Democratic congressional delegation have been picking up some big-money love from a controversial Washington DC lobbyist tied to the real estate development business.
First it was La Jolla’s Scott Peters, who on April 14 was the beneficiary of a $500-a-head ($2500 for “hosts”) noon-time soiree thrown by Sandra Yartin “Sam” DePoy, house lobbyist for the American Resort Development Association’s Resort Owners’ Coalition PAC, and Kirk Freeman, employed by for REITPAC, a political action committee run by the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts. The “special guest” was New York congressman Joe Crowley, vice-chairman of the House Democratic caucus.
Then, on May 18, the same duo held a luncheon for Juan Vargas at Washington’s posh Bistro Bis with the same price of admission, also featuring Crowley, according to an invitation posted online by PoliticalPartyTime.org. “Bistro Bis’ regular guests include senators, congressmen, celebrities and powerbrokers looking to dine in the ambiance and luxury of one of Washington’s most popular restaurants,” says the eatery’s website.
In 2010, DePoy was slapped with a $300,000 civil penalty for “for misstating financial activity, receiving prohibited corporate and foreign national contributions and improperly soliciting contributions,” according to a statement by the Federal Election Commission. Among other violations, the resort developers’ lobbying outfit had “solicited contributions from timeshare owners through periodic billings without including required disclaimers.” The sanction was “the largest penalty the FEC has handed out since 2007,” according to OpenSecrets.org.