Facing increasing fire from Republicans this week for missing a historic meeting on changes to Senate filibuster rules, Senator Jeanne Shaheen has repeatedly refused to explain her absence. But sources tell New Hampshire Journal that a long scheduled fundraiser for Shaheen’s 2014 re-election campaign prevented her from appearing at the event that was attended by 98% of her Senate colleagues.
According to two Democratic sources, Shaheen attended a fundraiser in Washington on the night of July 15th while a rare, joint Senate caucus meeting was held across town. Shaheen was one of only two Senators to skip the meeting and miss a mandatory quorum vote that preceded the event.
The other Senator who was absent, Marco Rubio (R-FL), said that he was unable to make the meeting because of family commitments. Shaheen’s office attributed her lack of attendance to a ‘scheduling conflict,’ but declined to elaborate any further.
The fundraiser had been on Shaheen’s schedule for weeks before the hastily announced filibuster meeting was proposed. Sources say that funds had already been collected and some of the money raised had been included in the $1.2 million she raised in second fundraising quarter.
“She had already collected a lot of the checks, and the money was already in the bank,” said a source familiar with the fundraiser. “There was no way she could back out on such short notice.”
Shripal Shah, a spokesman with Shaheen’s senate office, did not respond to a request for comment on the fundraiser.
Republicans have pounced on Shaheen’s absences and asked Shaheen to turn over her schedule for the night of the summit. In a letter to Shaheen sent on Wednesday, New Hampshire Republican State Committee Chairman Jennifer Horn criticized the Senator for not explaining the reason that she could not attend the event.
“You are a public official who is paid by taxpayers. You let New Hampshire down by missing a critical summit that was attended by almost every other United States Senator,” said Horn, “You won’t explain why you skipped this meeting, and say where you were at a time when you should have been working for your constituents. Clearly, you have not been honest about this matter, and your silence suggests that you have something to hide.”