The Daily Mail reports that Sen. Joe Manchin has spent over $1 million on fine dining during his 12 years in the Senate, including $80,000 at some of Washington D.C.’s finest restaurants since 2018.
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REVEALED: How Davos darling and divisive Democrat Joe Manchin has spent $1 MILLION in campaign dollars on fine dining in his 12 years in the Senate – as he considers whether to run again in 2024
The Daily Mail
January 20, 2023
- He spent more than $1.13 million through his campaign and leadership PAC on dining and catering since coming to office in 2011
- The 75-year-old senator has been coy about whether or not he plans to run for re-election
- This week, Manchin joined the world’s elite in Davos, the Swiss ski town where oligarchs and politicians descend each year to discuss globalist ideas
To find some of the poshest, see-and-be-seen places to eat in Washington, D.C. and around the country, one need only to follow the trail of where Senator Joe Manchin has been wining and dining D.C. power players on the campaign tab.
The West Virginia Democrat, whose moderate fiscal views have made him a key player in the narrowly split Senate, has spent more than $1.13 million through his campaign and leadership PAC on dining and catering since coming to office in 2011, according to FEC records reviewed by DailyMail.com.
With Manchin’s split-Senate rise to prominence came the realization that he could no longer be just the down-home, ex-governor West Virginian from coal country who didn’t sign on to his party’s leftward lurch. He is a man about town – the one business executives clamor for face time with when they want him to shape – or kill – President Biden’s legislation.
The 75-year-old senator has been coy about his 2024 plans, leaving Democrats waiting with bated breath to see if their likely only hope at keeping the seat blue in red West Virginia will run again.
This week Manchin joined the world’s elite in Davos, the Swiss ski town where oligarchs and politicians descend each year to discuss globalist ideas.
There he sat on a panel with other U.S. lawmakers, high-fived Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, I-Az., for supporting the Senate filibuster and defended the Inflation Reduction Act, which Europeans believe could detract green energy investment in their countries in favor of the U.S.
As Politico recently noted, the ‘once-unknown, gum-chewing, no-nonsense West Virginian’ has now become ‘the newfound Davos Man himself.’
The eye-watering $1.13 million dwarfs expenditures by his fellow Republican West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, whose campaign and related PAC spent $123,000 on catering and dining since she took office in 2015.
Since 2019 only 5 percent – $14,400 – of his campaign and leadership PAC dining expenses went to venders in Manchin’s home state. Since 2019 the campaign and leadership PAC have spent $268,455.27 on catering and related expenses outside West Virginia.
The senator has spent $80,000 at some of Washington, D.C.’s finest restaurants since being reelected in 2018.
In an expense filed January 20, 2022, the West Virginia Democrat’s campaign ran up a $10,000 tab at Joe’s Seafood – a restaurant which boasts of its ‘tuxedo-clad service’ and fresh seafood array flown in each day, including ‘the world’s finest Florida Stone Crab claws.’
The Manchin campaign went to Joe’s on five separate occasions totaling near $20,000 since 2021, with three separate bills that cost close to $3,000 and one a mere $200.
Manchin has also spent some $20,000 at Ocean Prime, a restaurant steps from the White House that advertises itself as ‘an ideal place to socialize, talk business, celebrate and indulge.’ He’s spent half that amount at the Capital Grille, a restaurant that boasts ‘more than 350 world-class wines,’ $7,000 at Bistro Bis, a French bistro in Capitol Hill whose ‘regular guests include senators, congressmen, celebrities and powerbrokers looking to dine in the ambiance and luxury of one of Washington’s most popular restaurants.’
He has spent nearly $6,000 at Lavagna, an Italian restaurant in Capitol Hill and more than $1,000 at The Monocle, ‘a favorite place for congressional fundraisers’ where guests regularly include senators, representatives and lobbyists.
Since re-election the senator has spent $56,000 at prestigious venues outside Washington, D.C. as well, including $20,000 at The Little Nell in Colorado – ‘Aspen’s only five-star, five-diamond hotel,’ whose ‘One Bedroom Specialty Suite’ can run over $5,000 a night.
He spent $15,000 at River Oaks Country Club in Houston, Texas – which used to be a white-only exclusive club and admitted its first black member in 1997. It’s been described as a ‘playground for Houston’s old money aristocracy.’
Some $2,500 went to the Coronado Club – an ‘elegant private dining club located in a landmark building in downtown Houston’ that ‘offers luxurious comfort, exceptional dining, and impeccable, highly personalized service,’ while $6,500 went to the Loews Regency Hotel in New York City.
Manchin rakes in big bucks from Houston-area donors – some $1.07 million in the 2022 election cycle. In fact, only 7.3 percent of his donations came from West Virginia in 2022. New York donors gave $1.34 million, while $847,000 came from D.C., $502,000 came from Dallas and $462,000 from Chicago.
Since re-election Manchin has also spent $4,250 at DC’s Capital Yacht Club, where he docks the houseboat he lives on while the Senate is in session.
To some, frequenting the upscale DC dining circuit is just the name of the game.
‘Political candidates spending money on meals and catering for fundraising events at nice venues is nothing new and not a surprise,’ West-Virginia based Democratic strategist Mike Plante told DailyMail.com.
He noted that FEC records show throughout Donald Trump’s presidency GOP candidates spent more than $22 million on both event venue rental and catering costs at Trump properties.
John Gibbs, a Republican who ran for Senate in Michigan, spent $72,000 on event space rental and catering costs for a Mar-a-Lago event in March. Georgia GOP Candidate for Senate Herschel Walker and Georgia GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene have each held events that altogether cost $64,000 and $44,000 respectively at Mar-a-Lago.
Others find the figures astonishingly high.
‘Sen. Manchin does not walk the talk that he’s been giving in Washington DC for so long. Looking at these figures you see an absurd number spent on unnecessary expenses — these expenses are far above what regular senators from more wealthy states are spending,’ GOP strategist Rina Shah told DailyMail.com.
‘He excels the virtues of being local and propping up average everyday West Virginia and yet he lives his life in Washington DC in a manner that is unlike what most West Virginians are familiar with,’ she added.
‘Manchin’s expenditures on wining and dining people who are more often than not disconnected from his constituency tells us that he belongs more in the ranks of wealthy Americans in the private sector like his daughter who has made a fortune of pharmaceuticals.’