McCarthy PAC Paid Pollster Luntz Almost $40K Right Before Room Rental
It must be just a coincidence. About 10 days ago it was revealed that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had scored a fantastic below market rate to rent a room from pollster Frank Luntz in a luxury Washington, D.C. condo building. For just $1,500 a month the California Republican enjoyed access to a 24/7 concierge, a rooftop pool, a fitness center, a media room, a business center, and a party room with a bar and pool table in the Clara Barton, one of the most sought after buildings in the nation’s capital.
Even though he supposedly rented just one room, McCarthy had full run of the 7,000 penthouse living space just a few blocks from his day job at the U.S. Capitol since Luntz lives full time in Los Angeles. At the time the lawmaker said his eye-popping housing score was the result of his long-standing friendship with Luntz.
But Federal Election Commission filings show that the leadership PAC controlled by McCarthy — Majority Committee PAC, or McPAC — paid one of Luntz’s companies, FIL Inc. nearly $40,000 in late 2020, just before McCarthy became Luntz’s tenant. The Washington Post found that on Sept. 25, McCarthy’s Majority Committee PAC paid FIL Inc. $16,850. And on Dec. 17, McPAC paid FIL an additional $21,500. Both payments were reported as for “PAC Polling.”
McCarthy spokesman Matt Sparks said the payments were for surveys, one done in early September and another in early December. “One was done on pre-election messaging, which was the first election when McCarthy was the top House Republican, and the second was for a post-election survey after Republicans defied expectations,” he said. He said there was no connection between the campaign work and McCarthy’s rental of Luntz’s apartment.
Whether it’s a coincidence or not, Luntz’s renting of the “one room” to the GOP lawmaker is a violation of the bylaws of the condo building, which stipulate that only entire units may be rented.