Tom Steyer Aide Offered To Buy Endorsements from Local Iowa Politicians: Report

Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate businessman Tom Steyer waits to speak at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., August 11, 2019. (Brian Snyder/Reuters )

Pat Murphy, a former Iowa state House speaker and Tom Steyer campaign aide, privately offered multiple local politicians campaign contributions in exchange for White House endorsements.

Murphy’s cash-for-endorsement scheme, which would be legal if it had been made public, has been used previously in Iowa — in 2015, several Ron Paul aides were indicted for paying off former Iowa state senator Kent Sorenson in exchange for an endorsement of Paul’s 2012 presidential bid.

Steyer, a billionaire, has already funneled $46 million of his own money into advertising for his campaign, which made headlines this week when the South Carolina Post and Courier reported that a staffer had stolen campaign data from Kamala Harris.

The Associated Press first broke the story involving Murphy, who did not respond to a request for comment. Several Iowa politicians described the situation as a quid pro quo.

“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,” state representative Karin Derry said.

“Tom, I know you’re running for Senate. I’m working for Tom Steyer,” Iowa Democrat Tom Courtney recalled hearing. “Now you know how this works . . . he said, ‘you help them, and they’ll help you.’”

Steyer’s press secretary Alberto Lammers told the AP that Murphy was not authorized to make the offers and that the campaign leadership outside of Iowa was unaware that he was doing so.

“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,” Lammers said.

Most Popular


‘Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself’

It was just one more segment to fill out the hour, and thereby fill the long 24 hours of Saturday’s cable news on November 2. Or so it seemed. Navy SEAL Mike Ritland was on the Fox News program Watters World to talk to Jesse Watters about trained German shepherds like the one used in the raid that found ... Read More
Film & TV

The Manly Appeal of Ford v Ferrari

There used to be a lot of overlap between what we think of as a Hollywood studio picture (designed to earn money) and an awards movie (designed to fill the trophy case, usually with an accompanying loss of money). Ford v Ferrari is a glorious throwback to the era when big stars did quality movies about actual ... Read More
White House

Impeachment and the Broken Truce

The contradiction at the center of American politics in Anno Domini 2019 is this: The ruling class does not rule. The impeachment dog-and-pony show in Washington this week is not about how Donald Trump has comported himself as president (grotesquely) any more than early convulsions were about refreshed ... Read More
Politics & Policy

ABC Chief Political Analyst: GOP Rep. Stefanik a ‘Perfect Example’ of the Failures of Electing Someone ‘Because They Are a Woman’

Matthew Dowd, chief political analyst for ABC News, suggested that Representative Elise Stefanik (R., N.Y.) was elected due to her gender after taking issue with Stefanik's line of questioning during the first public impeachment hearing on Wednesday. “Elise Stefanik is a perfect example of why just electing ... Read More

What Happened to California Republicans?

From 1967 to 2019, Republicans controlled the California governorship for 31 of 52 years. So why is there currently not a single statewide Republican officeholder? California also has a Democratic governor and Democratic supermajorities in both houses of the state legislature. Only seven of California’s 53 ... Read More