Stefanik excused herself from Washington, went to Mar-a-Lago

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 6:16 PM EST
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWNY) - North country congresswoman Elise Stefanik and former president Donald Trump had a big night Tuesday.

They raised over $3 million for Republican candidates, including Stefanik, and Trump’s political action committee.

Trump hailed Stefanik, said “she’ll be President in about six years.”

But congress is in session this week. How was Stefanik able to go to Mar-a-Lago?

As it turns out, earlier in the day Tuesday, she filed a letter with the Clerk of the House of Representatives. In it, she wrote “I am unable to physically attend proceedings in the House Chamber due to the ongoing public health emergency.”

She designated another Republican congressman to cast her vote.

“For her to cite a global pandemic as a reason for missing work, but then to go to Florida for a fundraiser for herself is just wrong,” said Matt Putorti, one of the Democrats challenging Stefanik for the north country’s seat in congress.

“You don’t get to lie to your constituents, vote against their interests and spend more time at Mar-a-Lago then you do in Massena or Malone and keep your job. And I consider this really a dereliction of duty,” said Matt Castelli, another of Stefanik’s challengers.

Axios reported earlier this week that more than a third of the House is voting remotely. While it’s not clear how many members of congress are excusing themselves from Washington to raise money, Axios cited at least one Democrat who used proxy voting - that’s what this business of submitting a letter and designating someone else to cast your vote is called - to fund raise in California.

“She’s (Stefanik) doing exactly what, I don’t have the numbers, but what many, many, many Republicans and Democrats have been doing,” said Alexander Cohen, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Clarkson University.

Alex DeGrasse, Stefanik’s Senior Advisor - he speaks for the Stefanik campaign frequently - said in an email “Congresswoman Stefanik was one of the 108 Members of Congress who voted by proxy on Tuesday and yesterday was on the House floor voting from approximately 10:30 pm until midnight.

“She will always work to ensure her district is represented at the highest levels, which is why she made sure the district had a vote.

“One of the top priorities of her constituents is to fire Nancy Pelosi once and for all, and Congresswoman Stefanik is proud to be a leader in that effort while the Far-Left Democrats are so desperate because, once again, they will get outraised, outworked, outmatched, and lose in this district.

“We can’t wait to see more abysmal fundraising numbers showing virtually no support for the phony Socialist Democrats who just moved to the district from New York City and Poughkeepsie.”

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