GOP congressman who held out-of-state fundraising events attacks opponent for doing the same

Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) has conveniently forgotten his own out-of-state fundraising events.

Barr campaign ad
CREDIT: Barr campaign screenshot.

Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) released a new ad this week accusing his opponent Amy McGrath of the cardinal sin of having traveled to other states to raise money for her campaign. What’s more, he notes, she traveled to the same places where Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) live.

There is just one problem with his line of attack: Barr himself has also traveled out of Kentucky to raise money for his campaign, and has also held fundraisers in places where liberal Democrats live and work.

The 30-second spot is bizarre even for a campaign ad, featuring a map of the United States with Glenn Beck-style arbitrary lines connecting unrelated things.

“Amy McGrath seems like she’s everywhere these days but Kentucky,” the narrator begins. “She’s in Massachusetts fundraising. Who else is from Massachusetts? Elizabeth Warren, a big supporter.”  The ad also notes she traveled to San Francisco, home of Pelosi, and to Hollywood, home of “elitist liberal movie stars.” To illustrate the last point, Barr’s campaign shows a photo of McGarth with comedian Chelsea Handler, whose work has been almost exclusively on television, in print, and at stand-up venues. “Her extreme liberal views,” the announcer concludes, “are coming from everywhere but Kentucky.”

A ThinkProgress review of Barr’s own fundraising events on Political Party Time, a tracking site operated by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, finds that he has hosted numerous fundraising events outside of his home state as well in recent years.

They include:

  • Multiple fundraiser meals at Acqua al 2, an Italian restaurant in Washington, DC (the city in which Pelosi and Warren both work and have offices)
  • A PAC reception at DC’s Diageo Townhouse, a venue owned by the makers of Captain Morgan, Guinness, and Johnnie Walker
  • A Kentucky Derby receiption at DC’s Amway Townhouse, the home of the DeVos family business
  • A fundraising event during a Washington Wizards home game against the Golden State Warriors (a basketball team based not far from Pelosi’s California House district)

Back in 2014, he also journeyed to New York City, home of numerous liberal elected officials and actual movie stars, for a “fundraising luncheon” held by the partners of the Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP law firm.


According to the Center for Responsive Politics’ OpenSecrets data, Barr has raised more than 43 percent of his contributions for his 2018 re-election from outside of Kentucky and more than 60 percent of them come from outside his district. Among those out of state donations: more than $5,000 from Warren’s home state of Massachusetts and more than $75,000 from Pelosi’s home state of California.