Dean Phillips, a Democrat hoping to unseat U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen, openly disapproves of big money in politics while quietly accepting support from a political action committee (PAC).
Campaign finance reform has been a focus of Phillips’ campaign. Phillips has pledged to “reject and return” any campaign contributions from PACs and match dollar-for-dollar any spending made on his behalf with a contribution to a charity of his choice. This, Phillips says, is the “Minnesota way.”
This commitment caught the eye of End Citizens United, a PAC focused on ending “big money in politics.” End Citizens United endorsed Phillips last September, praising his stance on rejecting PAC money.
“By taking a stand to reject PAC money, Dean Phillips is proving that he’s accountable to the people of Minnesota, not greedy special interests. He’s putting his money where his mouth is,” said End Citizens United President Tiffany Muller.
However, as the election cycle heats up, it appears End Citizens United and Phillips’ campaign are willing to ease up on their commitment to end big money in politics.
On Wednesday, End Citizens United launched a massive ad buy in support of Phillips. According to the Star Tribune, the PAC spent $540,000 on TV ads and another $200,000 on digital ads in favor of Phillips.
The TV ad, which focuses on Phillips’ anti-PAC pledge, seems to contradict their desire to change the campaign finance culture. While slamming the influence of PACs and big money in politics, End Citizens United spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in hopes of helping elect Phillips.
Phillips has not reacted to the new ads running in his favor, nor has he indicated if he will keep to his “Minnesota way” pledge and match the contribution dollar-for-dollar with a charitable donation.