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Deficit Committee Member Kerry Gives Up Fundraising

Sen. John Kerry told the Boston Globe today that he will take a hiatus from fundraising until his work on the deficit committee is finished in late November.

“I will not fundraise; I will raise no money,” Kerry told the Globe. “I just don’t want the appearance of money being associated with anything I do on this.”

The Massachusetts Democrat appears to be the first of the 12-member Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction to publicly eschew fundraising altogether until the panel’s work is complete, though other lawmakers have cut back after government watchdog groups called on members to avoid influence from outside interests.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) told the Cincinnati Enquirer last week: “Members aren’t going to have the time to be involved in [as many] fundraising events that they would have been. Personally, I’ve canceled a bunch of events.”

Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) canceled an upcoming event with the National Association of Realtors, a big-time spender on campaigns and elections.

A group of 25 government watchdog groups in August wrote an open letter to Congress that expressed concern “that lobbyists and wealthy corporate interests are preparing to spend significant amounts of money to influence the work of the 12 members of United States Congress soon to be appointed to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.”

Once the members of the joint task force had been selected, the campaign finance watchdog Public Campaign noted that the 12 lawmakers on the committee had $20.4 million in cash on hand and could easily take a break from fundraising for the duration of their service on the deficit team.

The other Republican lawmakers on the super committee are Sens. Jon Kyl (Ariz.) and Pat Toomey (Pa.) and Reps. Jeb Hensarling (Texas), Fred Upton (Mich.) and Dave Camp (Mich). The other Democrats are Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.) and Reps. Xavier Becerra (Calif.), James Clyburn (S.C.) and Chris Van Hollen (Md.).

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