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Steyer aide offered money for endorsements in Iowa

According to an AP News report, Pat Murphy, a campaign aide to billionaire Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer, privately offered contributions to local politicians in exchange for endorsing Steyer’s White House bid.

Payments for endorsements aren’t forbidden, but they could violate campaign finance laws if not disclosed to the Federal Election Commission. There is no evidence that any local politicians accepted the money from the campaign. When asked about the AP report, Steyer’s campaign responded with a statement from Murphy, a former state House speaker, who did not directly address the allegations.

“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,” Murphy said in the statement. “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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Since launching his campaign on July 9, Steyer has spent almost $30 million on television ads, $7.1 million in Iowa alone.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock criticized Steyer after the report came out.

“Tom has not made any individual contributions to candidates in Iowa this year, and he will not be making any contributions,” a campaign spokesperson for Steyer said in a statement to CNBC.

“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.”

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Image courtesy of Gage Skidmore