Sen. Michael Bennet (D., Colo.) claims he doesn't accept contributions from corporate PACs or federal lobbyists. A Washington Free Beacon review of his campaign finance records tells another story.
"I'm not taking a dime in corporate PAC money," Bennet says in his first reelection campaign ad. "Washington could learn a lot from Colorado. That's why I approve this message." But the Colorado senator accepted more than $60,000 from PACs that accept corporate PAC contributions last quarter alone. Bennet also accepted $3,500 from the Blackstone Group's corporate PAC in 2021. The same quarter he accepted that donation he claimed on Twitter that his campaign was "setting records without taking a cent from corporate PACs."
On multiple occasions Bennet has also claimed that he has never taken any donations from lobbyists. Yet lobbyists have given him more than one million dollars since he entered the Senate in 2009, according to his campaign finance records.
Bennet taking money from corporations and lobbyists highlights how Democrats struggle to meet purity pledges demanded by left-wing activists. Such pledges help give the impression to voters that the candidates are free from outside influence. Other Democrats who say they swear off corporate PAC money, including Sens. Mark Kelly (Ariz.) and Raphael Warnock (Ga.), have exploited corporate donation loopholes.
At least 16 PACs that accept donations from corporations donated money to Bennet last quarter, according to his campaign finance records. Those PACs include the Real Estate Roundtable PAC and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.
Similar to Democrats such as Kelly, Bennet also accepted tens of thousands of dollars from PACs funded by trade associations. Some of those PACs include the National Structured Settlements PAC and the American Council of Life Insurers PAC.
Much of Bennet's other donations come from those connected to financial firms. From 2009 to the second quarter of 2022, Bennet accepted more than $5 million dollars from the securities and investment industry. Employees from the investment management firms Blackstone Group and Oaktree Capital Management have given Bennet over a half million dollars.
Bennet will face Republican challenger Joe O'Dea in November.