Democrats

Ossoff Says He Refuses ‘Corporate Donations,’ Which Are Illegal

Jon Ossoff (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Georgia Democratic Senate hopeful Jon Ossoff walked back an earlier pledge to not accept corporate PAC donations in a new ad, saying he does not accept "corporate donations," which are already illegal.

"Politicians like David Perdue put the donors and lobbyists who fund their campaigns ahead of ordinary people," he said. "I approve this message because I'm not taking corporate donations, and I'll put working families and small businesses first."

By law, corporations cannot make direct contributions from their coffers to political candidates. They can, however, set up corporate PACs that raise money from high-level employees or shareholders, which they can in turn donate to candidates.

Ossoff claimed in an earlier ad he would not take corporate PAC funds as part of his anti-corruption platform. The Washington Free Beacon, however, reported he accepted $37,500 in the second quarter of 2020 from nine Democratic-affiliated leadership PACs, which were in turn funded by corporate PAC cash. He attacked Sen. David Perdue (R., Ga.) for accepting pharmaceutical PAC money and then voting to favor drug companies, but Ossoff took $20,000 from five leadership PACs that have accepted more than $220,000 from pharmaceutical and health product PACs in the 2020 cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Ossoff's campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Perdue's campaign accused Ossoff of breaking a previous promise.

"Jon Ossoff was caught breaking his pledge to refuse corporate PAC money, so now he's desperately trying to course correct and pretend he's a hero for obeying basic campaign finance law," Perdue spokeswoman Casey Black said in a statement. "Ossoff continues to show Georgians that he's nothing but a hypocritical, two-faced politician who tells people what he thinks they want to hear."