Last Updated on April 19, 2020
Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA) appears to be living high on the hog, using campaign donations to fund lavish hotel stays, even as many in his district struggle to keep up financially, a problem exacerbated by an influx of low-wage foreign workers, which Riggleman has enthusiastically supported since arriving in Washington.
According to expenditure disclosures from Friends of Denver Riggleman, the Congressman’s campaign committee, the first-term Republican, whose 5th District territory stretches from the North Carolina border to the Washington, D.C. exurbs, spent a total of $1,983.92 on April 8th of last year, for a stay at The Palazzo at the Venetian, a luxury hotel and casino resort located on the Las Vegas Strip.
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Less than two months prior, on February 20th, Riggleman dropped $945.17 on a trip to Key Biscayne, Florida, a Miami-Dade island town, where he stayed at the Ritz-Carlton.
The luxury quarters at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne are a far cry from the forgotten corners of Riggleman’s 5th District, where industrial cities and towns like Danville and Martinsville once offered well-paying manufacturing jobs – jobs that afforded area workers beach vacations of their own.
That is, before disastrous free-trade policies, like those supported by Riggleman’s donors at Club for Growth, saw
the region’s manufacturing plants shuttered and their jobs shipped overseas, leading to an economic downturn that has converted the former industrial powerhouses into some of Virginia’s poorest communities.
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In addition to resort getaways, on March 18th and May 17th of last year, Riggleman spent a total of 1,974.63 on “gifts” at his own business, Silverback Distillery.
While the expenditures aren’t illegal, most would consider them to be improper.
When politicians make their rounds soliciting donations from everyday citizens, the last thing voters expect is for their hard-earned money to be dumped into a candidate’s private business, or used on lavish trips to the Vegas Strip or a beachfront Florida resort.