The Associated Press reports that "1 percent-er" -- both in the polls and his bank account -- Tom Steyer's top aide on his 2020 Democratic presidential primary campaign has been offering local Iowa politicians campaign contributions in exchange for endorsements for Steyer's presidential bid.
via Associated Press:
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.
One Iowa politician went on the record with the AP, saying that the offer from Steyer's campaign left a "bad taste in his mouth."
According to Courtney, here's how the interaction went down:
“Tom, I know you’re running for Senate. I’m working for Tom Steyer,” Courtney recalled hearing from the aide. “Now you know how this works. ...He said, ‘you help them, and they’ll help you.’”
“I said, ‘it wouldn’t matter if you’re talking monetary, there’s no amount,’” Courtney continued. “I don’t do that kind of thing.”
This, of course, sounds like a quid pro quo, but I digress. Another Iowa politician said the same thing.
Another, Iowa state Rep. Karin Derry, said Murphy didn’t explicitly offer a specific dollar amount, but made it clear Derry would receive financial support if she backed Steyer.
“It was presented more as, he has provided financial support to other downballot candidates who’ve endorsed him, and could do the same for you,” she said.
Steyer has funneled hundreds of millions of his own money into his campaign to no avail. As the AP mentions, this sort of thing is not quite illegal but it is pretty scummy.