Higgins’ relationship with female operative raises eyebrows

Renee Schaeffer is a professional DC fundraiser and the founder of Schaeffer Strategies, which has been doing work for Congressman Brian Higgins. The Congressman’s relationship with the attractive female operative has begun to raise questions.

On the Congressman’s behalf, Schaeffer has planned dozens of DC-area fundraising events, attended mostly by lawyers and lobbyists. Those pricy $1,000 to $2,600 tickets are usually paid for with corporate accounts bankrolled by big oil and major defense contractors. Higgins attends almost all of the events, which are opportunities for lobbyists to get in face time.

Schaeffer sends out the invitations and asked guests to RSVP for the always pricy events. A dinner at Bobby Van’s asked guests for a $1,500 contribution per seat, with checks payable to Brian Higgins for Congress, the Congressman’s official campaign account.

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Much of Higgins’ financial contributions come from defense contractors, contributed individually through their lobbyists and lawyers.

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On Schaeffer’s LinkedIn account, she describes her business practice:

Schaeffer Strategies, a proud member of Democracy Partners, is a full service, boutique Democratic, progressive issues consulting firm specializing in fundraising. We work with candidates and incumbents for all offices as well as PAC’s, organizations, trade associations and non-profit groups. All of our clients receive the highest level of personal attention; our goal being to provide them with the team and plan that fits their specific needs. Each campaign and candidate is unique and we believe in treating them as such. Our approach provides the campaign with the full resources of our firm – principals, support staff and interns.
We have over a decade of success in all aspects of fundraising. We provide start up infrastructure, program assessment, event specific assistance as well as on-going guidance and execution of your fundraising program. Services available include but are not limited to: call time development, execution and evaluation; event development and coordination; donor research; direct mail and internet solicitation. Training tailored for candidates, campaigns and organizations also available.

Almost always, Schaeffer includes Higgins’ lucrative committee assignments on the fundraising solicitations. He is on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the House Committee on Homeland Security, where he is the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Counter Terrorism and Intelligence.

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