The office of Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon sent Salon the following response to Lee Fang's piece, Mon. January 30 piece, "D.C. lobbyist aids Rep. McKeon's Wife."
We believe that the factual inaccuracies in Lee Fang's piece, used as grounds for the author's personal speculations, provide for a very misleading article.
First, contrary to Fang’s false assertion that Mr. Valente donated to Patricia McKeon in an effort to circumvent maximum campaign contribution laws, Mr. Valente has not maxed out to Congressman McKeon. In fact, Mr. Valente has not contributed to Congressman McKeon’s “McKeon for Congress” campaign committee at all.
Second, contrary to Mr. Fangs inaccurate assertion that Patricia was the only state candidate to receive donations from the Fund for American Opportunity, Patricia was not in fact the only state candidate to receive a donation. If you click on the link in the article, you will see several state candidates listed on the group’s contribution report. In addition to these contributions to state candidates, the Fund for American Opportunity has given to several GOP state party organizations. Additionally, it is also instructive that the report Mr. Fang references in his piece is only a 6 month contribution report.
Third, Mr. Fang implies that 3Leaf Group, a government contractor and client of Valente, lobbied Congressman McKeon regarding provisions of the NDAA. The truth is that 3Leaf Group has never lobbied Congressman McKeon directly.
Lee Fang responds:
In my Salon piece, we asserted that "Valente had already maxed out in donations to Rep. McKeon this cycle, having given $2,500 to his campaign for Congress." Indeed, Federal Election Commission reports indicate that Mr. Mark Valente donated $2,500 -- the highest federal contribution level -- to the Congressman Buck McKeon's political action committee, the 21st Century PAC, on September 30, 2011. We did not say that Valente had given specifically to “McKeon for Congress” campaign committee. We said he had given to "his campaign for Congress." As FEC disclosures show, the 21st Century PAC is controlled by "Howard McKeon" and spends money on behalf of his campaign for Congress. So it is accurate to say that Valente has given to his campaign.
The article has been revised to note that Patricia McKeon was the only California state candidate, rather than the only state candidate, to receive contributions from the 527 run by lobbyist Mark Valente for the period covered by the disclosure. We regret this error.
The piece accurately reported that Valente's "firm represented at least one company, 3Leaf Group, a government contractor specializing in human resources, that sought help from Valente on issues relating to the Defense Authorization bill." We added, "McKeon, as chairman of the Armed Services Committee, was the principal author of that legislation." We never reported that 3Leaf Group lobbied McKeon "directly," only that 3Leaf Group hired a lobbying firm run by Mr. Valente to influence the Defense Authorization bill, which McKeon oversees. Senate lobbying records confirm this arrangement.