Pat Murphy, a top aide to 2020 Democratic hopeful and billionaire Tom Steyer reportedly offered money to local Iowa politicians in exchange for their endorsement.
Murphy is a former state House speaker and now serves as Steyer’s top aide.
AP News reports there is no evidence that any Iowa politicians accepted the money or received contributions from the Steyer campaign thus far.
Murphy reportedly bribed Tom Courtney, a Democratic state senator in Iowa running for reelection. Courtney told AP News that the offer “left a bad taste in my mouth.”
If local politicians did accept this money and Steyer’s campaign does not disclose these contributions, their actions would be illegal, and in violation of campaign finance laws.
Even if these encounters in Iowa are disclosed, his actions raises the question of whether Steyer’s campaign done this with other endorsements.
Past candidates and their staff, like a former Ron Paul aide who falsified campaign records, have been convicted for participating in similar cases of bribery. A conviction of Murphy or Steyer’s campaign staff could end Steyer’s candidacy altogether.
Steyer has long criticized President Donald Trump for acting in “corrupt” ways, yet, his it is own campaign bribing local politicians for endorsements. Running on a platform of ending corruption, but using corrupt methods of getting elected, doesn’t go hand-in-hand.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has previously expressed his disdain for billionaires like Steyer in politics.
“I like Tom – he is a good guy, he’s a friend of mine – but I’m not a great fan of billionaires getting involved in the political process. Billionaires, and this is not just Tom Steyer, billionaires should not be able to spend unlimited sums of money trying to buy elections,” Sanders said.
Steyer is polling just under 1 percent, however, he will appear in the upcoming Democratic debate on November 20, if he doesn’t end this presidential bid before then.