To find some of the classiest see-and-be-seen restaurants in Washington, DC and across the country, all you have to do is follow the trail of where Senator Joe Manchin won and ate DC Stars in the Campaign tab.
The West Virginia Democrat, whose dovish fiscal views have made him a key player in the tightly divided Senate, has spent more than $1.13 million on his campaign and leadership PAC since taking office in 2011, according to FEC filings Restaurants and Catering issued .
With Manchin’s rise to prominence in the divided Senate came the realization that he could no longer be just the down-to-earth ex-governor of coal-country West Virginia who was bucking his party’s shift to the left. He’s a man of town — the one businessmen call for talks with if they want him to shape President Biden’s legislation — or kill.
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 of keeping the seat in red West Virginia blue will run again.
This week Manchin joined the world elite in Davos, the Swiss ski town where oligarchs and politicians come every year to discuss globalist ideas.
Senator Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat whose moderate views have made him a key player in the tightly divided Senate, has raised more than $1.13 million for restaurants and through his campaign and leadership PAC since taking office in 2011 catering spent
There he sat on a panel with fellow US lawmakers, High-Five Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, I-Az., for supporting the Senate filibuster and defending the Inflation Reduction Act, which Europeans believe will reduce investment in could affect green energy in their countries in favor of the USA
As Politico recently noted, the “once unknown, gum-chewing, no-nonsense West Virginian” is now “the newfound man from Davos himself.”
The staggering $1.13 million dwarfs spending by his Republican Senator from West Virginia, Shelley Moore Capito, whose campaign and associated PAC have spent $123,000 on catering and food since taking office in 2015 .
Since 2019, just 5 percent — $14,400 — of his campaign and leadership spending for the PAC has gone to booths in Manchin’s home state. Since 2019, the campaign and leadership PAC have spent $268,455.27 on catering and related expenses outside of West Virginia.
The senator has spent $80,000 at some of Washington, DC’s top restaurants since his re-election in 2018.
In an issue filed Jan. 20, 2022, the West Virginia Democrat’s campaign netted a $10,000 bill at Joe’s Seafood — a restaurant that prides itself on its “tuxedo service” and its daily flown-in selection boasts fresh seafood, including “the best Florida in the world”. Stone crab claws.”
The Manchin campaign has gone to Joe’s five times since 2021, totaling nearly $20,000, with three separate bills costing nearly $3,000 and one just $200.
Manchin has spent $18,870 at Joe’s Seafood in Washington, DC since 2019
The Tutto Tonno tomato at Tosca in downtown DC, where Manchin spent nearly $5,000, and the Crab Imperial appetizer at The Monocle on the Senate side of Capitol Hill
Manchin also spent around $20,000 at Ocean Prime, a restaurant just steps from the White House that bills itself as “an ideal place for networking, business, celebration and pampering.” He’s spent half that amount at the Capital Grille, a restaurant that offers “more than 350 world-class wines,” $7,000 at Bistro Bis, a French bistro on Capitol Hill whose “regulars include senators, congressmen, celebrities and those in power , who want to dine in the ambience and luxury of one of Washington’s most popular restaurants.’
He’s spent nearly $6,000 at Lavagna, an Italian restaurant on Capitol Hill, and more than $1,000 at The Monocle, “a popular spot for congressional fundraisers,” which regularly include Senators, Representatives, and lobbyists.
Since his re-election, the senator has spent $56,000 at prestigious venues outside of Washington, DC, including $20,000 at The Little Nell in Colorado — “Aspen’s only five-star, five-diamond hotel,” its “One Bedroom Specialty Suite can be operated over $5,000 per night.
He spent $15,000 at the River Oaks Country Club in Houston, Texas, which was formerly an exclusive whites-only club and accepted its first black member in 1997. It has been described as “a playground for Houston’s old moneyed aristocracy.”
Not far from the Capitol is The Monocle, “a popular spot for congressional fundraisers,” where Senators, Representatives, and lobbyists are regular guests
The Monocle has some framed photos of its famous patrons on the wall
Ocean Prime, where Manchin has spent $17,000 since 2019, is located near the White House and touts itself as “an ideal place to socialize, conduct business, party and indulge.”
About $2,500 went to the Coronado Club — an “elegant private dining club in a landmark building in downtown Houston” that “offers luxurious comfort, exceptional dining and impeccable, highly personalized service,” while $6,500 is on the Loews Regency Hotel in New York went York City.
Manchin rakes in a lot of money from Houston-area donors — about $1.07 million in the 2022 election cycle. In fact, in 2022, only 7.3 percent of his giving came from West Virginia. New York donors gave $1.34 million, while $847,000 came from DC, $502,000 from Dallas, and $462,000 from Chicago.
Since re-election, Manchin has also spent $4,250 at the Capital Yacht Club in DC, where he docks the houseboat he’s staying on while the Senate is in session.
Manchin spent $15,000 at the River Oaks Country Club in Houston, Texas
The senator spent $20,000 at The Little Nell, a five-star hotel in Aspen, Colorado
The Little Nell was named the best hotel in Colorado by US News & World Report
For some, visiting DC’s fine dining circuit is just the name of the game.
“For political candidates to spend money on meals and catering for fundraisers in beautiful locations is nothing new or a surprise,” West Virginia-based Democratic strategist Mike Plante told .
He noted that FEC records show that throughout Donald Trump’s presidency, GOP candidates spent more than $22 million on both venue rentals and catering costs at Trump properties.
John Gibbs, a Republican running for the Michigan State Senate, spent $72,000 on venue rentals and catering costs for an event in Mar-a-Lago in March. Georgia GOP Senate nominee Herschel Walker and Georgia GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene have each held events at Mar-a-Lago totaling $64,000 and $44,000, respectively.
Sea Scallops – Parmesan Risotto, English Peas & Citrus Vinaigrette by Ocean Prime just steps from the White House
Dishes waiting to be served at Ocean Prime, a restaurant located just steps from the White House
Others find the numbers surprisingly high.
“Sen. Manchin isn’t giving the lecture he’s been giving in Washington DC for so long. When you look at those numbers, you see an absurd number being spent on unnecessary spending — that spending is far in excess of what regular senators from wealthier states are spending,” GOP strategist Rina Shah told .
“He excels at being local and supporting the average West Virginian, yet he lives his life in Washington DC in a way unfamiliar to most West Virginians,” she added.
“Manchin’s spending on eating and drinking from people mostly unconnected to his constituency tells us he’s more of a wealthy American in the private sector than his daughter, who made a fortune in pharmaceuticals.”
Where does Joe Manchin eat and drink in Washington, DC?
The capital grill
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We the pizza