One of billionaire Tom Steyer’s top aides reportedly offered campaign contributions to local politicians if they would in turn endorse the Democratic candidate for president, according to The Associated Press.
However, Pat Murphy, a former Iowa state House speaker who is working on Steyer’s campaign in the state, did not necessarily break the law.
The AP reported that payments for endorsements are only illegal if they are not disclosed. Regardless, no Iowa politicians appear to have taken Murphy up on his offer.
Steyer has already faced criticism that he is trying to buy the presidency, and “several state lawmakers and political candidates said they were surprised Steyer’s campaign would think he could buy their support,” the AP said.
Murphy chalked any concerns up to “miscommunication,” but Steyer’s campaign press secretary told the AP that Murphy was not authorized to engage in such activity. Outside of Iowa, the campaign was unaware of his offers, Alberto Lammers said.
He added: “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.”
The AP noted that Steyer has received just one endorsement in Iowa since he entered the race: former state Rep. Roger Thomas.