EXCELSIOR, Minn. – Congressional hopeful Dean Phillips appears to have violated his own campaign pledge to refuse contributions from political action committees (PACs).
Phillips, a Democrat hoping to unseat Rep. Erik Paulsen, has made campaign finance reform a focus of his campaign. On his website, Phillips pledges to refuse any campaign contributions from PACs, special interest groups, or federal lobbyists. Phillips expanded on his pledge in an op-ed posted to Medium, claiming that only six sitting members of Congress refuse PAC money and he wants “want to be lucky number seven.”
“I believe the corrupting influence of money in politics is at the root of the dysfunction in Congress,” Phillips wrote. “I refuse to accept money from PACs, special interest groups or federal lobbyists, and will make reform a top priority.”
While Phillips’ claims to reject PAC funding, Federal Election Commission filings contradict this stance. According to campaign finance data, the Phillips campaign has received numerous contributions from the online fundraising platform ACTBLUE, a federally registered PAC.
OpenSecrets.org, a research group tracking money in politics, describes ACTBLUE as a PAC that channels online contributions raised on their website to specific Democratic candidates.
“As a federally registered political action committee, it serves as a conduit for online contributions to Democratic candidates and committees,” OpenSecrets summarizes the PAC. “That is, ActBlue bundles and transmits earmarked contributions from individuals raised on their website to specific candidates.”
Despite Phillips’ promise to reject PAC funding, the campaign continues to accept donations from ACTBLUE and benefit from the services of a PAC.
Alpha News reached out to the Phillips campaign for comments on the contributions. In an email response, the campaign focused on how each contribution received from ACTBLUE is from an individual donor, standing by the pledge to reject PAC money.
“Every contribution received through Act Blue is from an individual and is reported on our FEC filings. Regulations require us to also list Act Blue as the conduit. We have received $0 in PAC money,” the campaign responded.