Democrats are questioning what House Speaker Philip Gunn was doing at the Capitol on Monday night, when he invited some guests in after hours and served them food while Capitol police turned away media.
A spokesman for Gunn says the meeting was just that – a meeting with some of Gunn’s top advisors and supporters.
But Brandon Jones, of the Mississippi Democratic Trust, said the meeting was using the public Capitol “for an awards banquet for top Republican donors.”
“The Speaker and his campaign director can call it what they want,” Jones said. “It’s gross, that’s what it is. It’s gross to use the Capitol this way. It’s beneath the dignity of that office and it’s unprecedented.”
Nathan Wells, Gunn’s policy director, said the meeting was small, and consisted of Billy Powell, Billy Mounger, Wirt Yerger – all big Republican Party movers and leaders in Mississippi – and their wives.
“These are top advisors and supporters of the speaker and he had them in for a meeting, and some of them hadn’t seen the Speaker’s Office,” Wells said. “We have food brought in for meetings all the time. This was completely paid for by (Gunn). There were no contributions, and none asked for. It’s not an event. We eat food here at meetings all the time.”
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