A recent panel discussion about alleged governmental corruption in Ukraine, organized by lobbyist and former Rep. Connie Mack, has raised questions about the appropriate uses of meeting rooms under the House speaker’s jurisdiction.
It also offers a glimpse into the often murky world of lobbying on behalf of foreign clients seeking to use the nation’s capital as a way to advance policies abroad.Mack, a Florida Republican who did not respond to requests for comment, hosted the forum in Room HC-8 of the Capitol on Sept. 25 after Kansas GOP Rep. Ron Estes sponsored the room’s booking. Neither Estes nor his aides attended the event, spokesman Robert Kuhlman said. Longstanding guidelines for using the rooms require the member or a staff person to be there.
Ethics experts said Mack’s use of the Capitol meeting room raises concerns about whether it stayed within rules set by the speaker’s office.