Published — September 11, 2015 Updated — October 21, 2015 at 3:13 pm ET

On 9/11 anniversary, politicians collecting campaign cash

The twin towers of New York City's World Trade Center send smoke billowing across Manhattan's skyline. Marty Lederhandler/AP file

A day of remembrance is a day of fundraising for some candidates


The 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks did not stop members of Congress from conducting political fundraisers as the 2016 election inches nearer.

In the past, the day has been a time when politicking is put aside. Attack ads are taken down, debates cease and the focus moves away from election season. Despite this, several lawmakers took today to fundraise.

The Center for Public Integrity verified with event hosts that Reps. Mike Bishop, R-Mich; Kevin Cramer, R-N.D. and Elizabeth Esty, D-Conn., fundraised today — with some events costing up to $1,000 to attend.

Esty fundraised with the United Transportation Union in Washington, D.C., asking individuals for $1,000 to attend and $5,000 to host the event.

Cramer raised money at an 8:30 a.m. breakfast at the Capitol Hill Club, asking attendees for a minimum donation of $500.

Bishop’s fundraiser took place this morning at Capitol Hill restaurant Stanton & Greene, where supporters were asked to contribute $500 or more.

Representatives for the three members of Congress could not be reached for comment.

At least nine other members of Congress may have fundraised today as well, according to invitations and scheduling emails reviewed by the Center for Public Integrity, which was unable to independently confirm the events took place.

Gov. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, and Rep. Mark Takai, D-Calif., did not hold fundraisers today.

But both of the politicians’ campaigns emailed supporters this morning about upcoming fundraising events. Brownback’s gathering required a minimum donation of $250, while the Takai event asked for at least $500.

Fundraising on Sept. 11 has occurred in other recent years: Politico reported that lawmakers fundraised last year too, with Rep. John Kline, R-Minn. hosting a cigar and whiskey tasting event and Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., throwing a cocktail event that cost $500 to attend.

Twitter, meanwhile, remained relatively free of political messaging today.

Bishop and Esty tweeted out recognition of the Sept. 11 attacks, using hashtag #NeverForget. Other lawmakers went a step further in remembering the anniversary by attending memorial events, for example, or releasing statements about the anniversary.

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio, R-Fla., sent an email out titled “Remembering 9/11” in which he asks supporters to “pause to remember” those who died in the attacks.

“May we also remember that feeling, and keep it with us, as we confront America’s many challenges today,” Rubio wrote.

Unlike most of Rubio’s emails, it did not ask people for a donation.

Read more in Money and Democracy

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