In August, liberal billionaire and 2020 Democratic candidate Tom Steyer was accused by some people of buying his way into the September debate.

Now his campaign faces accusations of trying to buy endorsements from political leaders in Iowa.

Alexandra Jaffe reports at the Associated Press:

AP Exclusive: Steyer aide offered money for endorsements

A top aide to Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer in Iowa privately offered campaign contributions to local politicians in exchange for endorsing his White House bid, according to multiple people with direct knowledge of the conversations.

The overtures from Pat Murphy, a former state House speaker who is serving as a top adviser on Steyer’s Iowa campaign, aren’t illegal — though payments for endorsements would violate campaign finance laws if not disclosed. There’s no evidence that any Iowans accepted the offer or received contributions from Steyer’s campaign as compensation for their backing.

But the proposals could revive criticism that the billionaire Steyer is trying to buy his way into the White House. Several state lawmakers and political candidates said they were surprised Steyer’s campaign would think he could purchase their support.

Tom Courtney, a former Democratic state senator from southeastern Iowa who’s running for reelection to his old seat, told The Associated Press that the financial offer “left a bad taste in my mouth.”

Murphy said concerns about his outreach were the result of a “miscommunication.”

Consider the fact that Steyer has spent nearly every waking moment of the last three years calling President Trump a threat to our democracy, or worse.

Then read this statement from Montana Governor Steve Bullock:

John Bowden of The Hill has a statement from a Steyer spokesman:

A spokesman for Steyer’s campaign told the AP that Murphy was not authorized to make the offers and that campaign leadership was unaware he had done so until the news service alerted them to Murphy’s efforts.

“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,” a campaign spokesperson told The Hill on Thursday.

“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,” added the spokesperson.

Steyer is set to participate in a CNN town hall event in Iowa next week. Do you think this will come up?

 
 
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