Steyer aide offered money for endorsements

National

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 01: Tom Steyer speaks during the California Democrats 2019 State Convention at the Moscone Center on June 01, 2019 in San Francisco, California. Several Democratic presidential cadidates are speaking at the California Democratic Convention that runs through Sunday. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A top aide to Tom Steyer in Iowa has privately offered local politicians campaign contributions in exchange for endorsing his White House bid.

Multiple people with direct knowledge of the conversations told The Associated Press that the overtures came from Pat Murphy, Steyer’s Iowa director. There’s no evidence any candidates in Iowa accepted the offer or received contributions for an endorsement.

Murphy did not respond to a request for comment. Alberto Lammers, Steyer’s campaign press secretary, says Murphy was not authorized to make the offers and that the campaign leadership outside of Iowa was unaware that he was doing so until the issue was raised by The Associated Press.

The proposals could revive criticism that the billionaire Steyer is trying to buy his way into the White House.

Statement from the Steyer Campaign:

“Tom has not made any individual contributions to candidates in Iowa this year, and he will not be making any contributions. The endorsements he receives are earned because of Tom’s campaign message, his decade-long work taking on big corporations who put profits over people, and his work registering and organizing voters across the country to support progressive causes. Our campaign policy is clear that we will not engage in this kind of activity, and anyone who does is not speaking for the campaign or does not know our policy.

“Tom and his wife Kat Taylor have a long history of supporting progressive causes and candidates, which have helped Democrats in Iowa and across the country. Their work helped Democrats take back the U.S. House of Representatives last year and fueled more Democratic victories this week, including in Virginia. Just this year, Tom has committed $50 million to support Democrats through NextGen, For Our Future, and Need to Impeach. 

“Americans deserve elected officials that respond to them instead of playing political games. As president Tom will do exactly that.”

Statement from Pat Murphy:

“As a former legislator, I know how tricky the endorsement process can be for folks in Iowa. It was never my intention to make my former colleagues uncomfortable, and I apologize for any miscommunication on my part. I joined the campaign because I believe Tom is the best candidate to take on Donald Trump and that he shares Iowa’s values. I know that Tom’s message will resonate with leaders across the state and that any endorsements will come from the merit of his message.”

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