GOP condemns Ed Markey fundraiser with Eliot Spitzer

The state Republican Party called on Representative Edward Markey Tuesday to cancel a fundraiser for his Senate campaign co-hosted by former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer scheduled for next month.

The fundraising invitation, obtained by Politico, lists Spitzer and his wife Silda Wall Spitzer among six couples and one individual co-hosting the March 13 fundraiser in the Washington home of Emily Spitzer, the former New York governor’s sister according to Politico, and her husband Eric Lewis. Guests are asked to donate $500 to $5,000.

The Markey campaign confirmed the validity of the invitation, but said the event would not be called off.

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Eliot Spitzer, who resigned in disgrace in 2008 over a prostitution scandal, has since hosted television shows on CNN and Current TV and reemerged as a potential candidate for public office.

Kirsten Hughes, chair of the state Republican party, said in a statement that Markey should withdraw.

“You are judged by the company you keep and it’s disgusting for Congressman Markey to rub elbows with a man best known for his solicitation of prostitutes,” Hughes said. “Instead of lining his campaign coffers with donations from the disgraced Eliot Spitzer, Markey should immediately cancel the fundraiser and denounce Spitzer’s abhorrent and unacceptable behavior. Anything short of a public condemnation and cancellation would send the wrong message to women everywhere.”

Markey’s spokeswoman, Giselle Barry, said the event would not be canceled. She instead challenged Republican candidates to sign a pact, known as the People’s Pledge, designed to limit the influence of political action committees. Markey and his Democratic primary opponent, Representative Stephen Lynch, have already signed the agreement, which imposes self-regulated financial penalties on the campaigns if outside groups spend money on their behalf.

“If the Massachusetts GOP really cared about campaign finance issues they would take its potential nominees to task for refusing to sign the people’s pledge,” she wrote. “Instead of feigning outrage over one fundraiser, the Massachusetts Republican Party should immediately demand all its declared candidates follow in the footsteps of Elizabeth Warren, Scott Brown, Ed Markey, and Stephen Lynch by signing the pledge.”