McConnell says donation from Delta CEO made because he is a friend, not because of meal in Senate dining room

08/21/2014 03:06 PM

After a large donation and a report detailing a breakfast between Kentucky U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell and Delta Airlines CEO Rick Anderson, some are saying the Senator used the meeting to get the campaign donation. But McConnell disputes the claims saying it is not unusual for a friend to support his campaign.

A story by the National Journal prompted questions about a large donation made by the Delta CEO in relation to a breakfast he had with McConnell in the Senate dining room just days before. The article says after a breakfast meeting in the exclusive Senate Dining Room last month, Anderson and his wife wrote $10,000 worth of checks to help fund McConnell’s super PAC.

When asked by reporters about the story at the annual Kentucky Farm Bureau Ham Breakfast, McConnell seemed to have not heard about the story and said there was nothing to it because Anderson is a friend of his.

“I paid for lunch, he is a friend of mine. I have known him for years,” McConnell said. “The fact that a friend of mine would support my campaign should not be an unusual thing. He has supported me for years.”

As McConnell stated, this is not the first time Anderson has made contributions to McConnell. From the National Journal piece:

The money was hardly the first investment that Delta and its employees have made in McConnell recently. Last September and October, 22 employees of Delta and the airline’s PAC gave $26,500 to the McConnell Victory Kentucky Committee, which splits its proceeds between McConnell’s reelection account and the Kentucky Republican Party.

But the Grimes campaign says the story is another example of McConnell skipping out on obligations for his own purposes, referencing another story on the senator’s absence from meetings of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

“After declaring he does not have time for Senate Agriculture Committee meetings, Mitch McConnell’s priorities appear to be misplaced. These reports raise questions as to what McConnell is spending his time doing while skipping work related to issues important to Kentuckians,” Grimes spokeswoman Charly Norton said in a statement.

Jacqueline Pitts

Jacqueline Pitts is the producer of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. In addition to booking guests and pulling all of the information from the field together into a half-hour show, Jacqueline is also a regular contributor to “The Grind.” That’s a weekly segment with the cn|2 political staff to take a closer look at some of the most important, most interesting and often least talked about happenings in Kentucky politics. Jacqueline is from Nashville, but she’s a proud Western Kentucky University graduate. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter @Jacqueline_cn2. She can be reached at 502-792-1114 or jacqueline.pitts@twcnews.com.

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