Washington Babylon — April 16, 2010, 10:39 am

Party Bosses and the Boss

I did an item awhile back about a fundraiser for Congressman Ed Towns that was hosted by the Entertainment Software Association and held at the Verizon Center during a show by Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band. But I didn’t realize how many other members of congress use Springsteen concerts to drum up cash.

ProPublica has the goods here:

As Bruce Springsteen belted out his working-class anthems on the floor of the Verizon Center last May, Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., chair of the House Highways and Transit Subcommittee, was raising money in the privacy of a luxury suite overlooking the stage. Ten other members of Congress were also asking for cash that night. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was there, too, holding a fundraiser featuring Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., chair of the Financial Services Committee. It was the ultimate in multitasking for the politicians – three hours of The Boss for free while raising thousands of dollars for their campaigns and political action committees, or leadership PACs…

At least 19 congressional fundraisers were held at Springsteen’s two Washington concerts last year, almost half of them in boxes rented from companies or organizations with business before the committees of the lawmakers who used them.

Note: Jon Landau, Springsteen’s manager, told me after my item ran: “Obviously we had no idea about the fund-raiser at the Verizon Center and are looking into it right now. Bruce does not allow his name to be used to promote anything without his permission, but sometimes the truly ingenious find ways to piggyback their events on top of what we do in ways that are hard to disentangle.”

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More from Ken Silverstein:

From the November 2013 issue

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How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy

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