Rep.-elect Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) is pushing back against criticism of a Tuesday night fundraiser to raise money for newly-elected GOP members of the House, saying it doesn't conflict with the party's anti-Washington message.
The event will take place at Washington's W Hotel and is sponsored by America's New Majority, a political committee founded by Denham. Ticket packages to the fundraiser, which features country music star LeAnn Rimes, are priced as high as $50,000 for donors.
In an interview with California radio station KMJN, Denham defended the event, saying it doesn't conflict with the incoming majority's message of slashing spending in Washington and is aimed at helping safeguard the party's new House majority.
"We've got this new majority with 87 new members and the biggest question that you have is how many are going to come back next term," Denham said. "My job is to keep this class together, just like [Rep.] Kevin McCarthy [R-Calif.] came in, raised a lot of money, had a high profile helping out his freshman class ... I'm doing the same thing."
The event has elicited criticism from some conservatives worried that the image of newly-elected Republicans hobnobbing with D.C. insiders at a high-dollar fundraiser sends the wrong message right as the party embarks on the 112th Congress.
And even though members of the GOP leadership are shying away from the event, as reported by Politico, Denham said he expects some of them to be there, though he didn't name any.
"I expect that leadership is going to be here," he said. "Many have confirmed already in leadership. But it's not about the leadership of the party, it's about the freshman class."
See the invitation here, which lists Speaker-designate John Boehner (R-Ohio), incoming Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), incoming Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and National Republican Campaign Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) as invited guests.
Boehner and Cantor are not expected to attend but Sessions is scheduled to be there, according to reports.