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 joined the cn|2 political team in June 2012. A graduate of WKU, Jacqueline grew up in Nashville, TN and is looking forward to having a front row seat to Kentucky politics. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter @Jacqueline_cn2. She can be reached at 502-792-1114 or



  • Cat Balz wrote on August 21, 2014 06:02 PM :

    But, but, but, Mitch paid for the lunch. His friend just picked up the tip and Scott Jennings goes to the bank.

  • Lt. Gibson wrote on August 21, 2014 10:04 PM :

    Mitch has a lot of friends who are corporate CEOs. He pays for lunch and they throw millions into his campaign treasury and Karl Rove’s SuperPac.

    He’s been doing it for 30 years and it’s worked pretty well for him. The people of Kentucky? Not so much.

  • Cumberland Gap wrote on August 22, 2014 01:41 PM :

    Mitch used the Senate dining room to seal up a campaign contribution. That’s using a government facility for his campaign. Very illegal and unethical. Will there be a complaint? Mitch has not been attending important Ag committee meetings. Will he refund a portion of his pay for not going to meetings?

  • Waybert17 wrote on August 23, 2014 01:48 PM :

    Why would there be a complaint about a Republican using the Senate dining room to get a contribution….since Harry Reid, a Democrat, has been known to do it himself? Recently, also, it just came out in the news that Obama staffers were calling for campaign contribution, while working on White House time. If you really are interested in candidates like McConnell, Reid, and also Grimes running “clean money campaigns,” then your’re going to have to get rid of this type of cash contributions for both parties. You’re part of the problem as long as you continue to say “its all right for my party to get this money in contribution….but evil and wrong for the other party to receive these donations!”

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