Jon Tester’s Luxury Restaurant Bills Don’t Match His Everyman Image

Montana senator Jon Tester bills himself as “a tireless defender of rural America” who prefers a home-cooked meal to dining out in Washington, D.C.’s vibrant restaurant scene. But the Democrat’s campaign receipts tell a different story: Tester has spent more than a million dollars at swanky restaurants, including one Beltway haunt that touts its appeal to “senators, congressmen, celebrities, and powerbrokers.”

Tester’s campaign and leadership PAC have dropped at least $1.2 million at restaurants and on catered events since 2006, including more than $270,000 at restaurants since 2019, according to campaign finance records. That includes $31,000 at Morton’s Steakhouse, a Washington mainstay where eight-ounce steaks run $53 and margaritas cost $35 a pop. Then there’s Del Frisco’s, a steakhouse that enforces a “strict upscale dress code” on its patrons, and RPM Italian, owned by celebrity reporter Giuliana Rancic and visited in recent years by rapper Drake and comedian Pete Davidson. Tester’s campaign spent $8,100 and $6,000 at the restaurants, respectively.

Another Tester campaign favorite is Bistro Cacao, where the Democrat has shelled out $15,745 for a taste of “French indulgence with contemporary flair.” Tester spent an additional $9,900 at Bistro Bis, a French restaurant on Capitol Hill that boasts “ambiance and luxury” for its clientele of “senators, congressmen, celebrities, and powerbrokers.”