Baldwin Took $120K From Lobbyists Despite Anti-Special Interest Stance

Individuals at J Street PAC, League of Conservation Voters round up generous contributions for Baldwin's campaign

Sen. Tammy Baldwin / Getty Images
February 21, 2018

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D., Wis.) has accepted more than $120,000 in bundled lobbyist contributions this election cycle despite wanting to amend the Constitution to limit the influence of special interests, filings show.

Baldwin, who is vying for a second term in the Senate this November, regularly chastises special interests and has consistently called for the end of Citizens United, the landmark Supreme Court decision on campaign finance.

Baldwin has introduced legislation aimed at limiting lobbyist influence, particularly in the financial services industry. The bill called for a two-year "cooling off" period from the time an individual leaves a government job before becoming a lobbyist.

"Hardworking American families are struggling to get ahead and they can't afford to have special interests in a cozy relationship with the government," Baldwin said at the time. "We need to make sure that government officials are working on behalf of the public interest and our common good."

Baldwin's press release announced the legislation package and a "We the People" campaign to reform government. "#WeThePeople will hold the government more accountable, amend the Constitution to end unlimited campaign contributions, and reform the lobbying laws to limit special interest influence," the release states.

Baldwin has accepted more than $120,000 in bundled lobbyist contributions to her campaign from influential liberal lobbying groups this campaign cycle, Federal Election Commission filings show.

Between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2017, Baldwin's campaign received $29,684 from individuals at the J Street PAC, a controversial far-left Middle East advocacy organization.

The J Street PAC was one of the most ardent backers of President Barack Obama's nuclear deal with Iran, which the Israeli government has called a "historic mistake." The advocacy group allocated millions of dollars into a public relations campaign in an effort to conjure up support from the public.

From July 1 to Dec. 31 of last year, Baldwin's campaign took in an additional $90,496.52 in bundled contributions from lobbyists.

J Street PAC gave $40,962.17 more to the campaign during this period, while $49,534.35 was bundled by individuals at the League of Conservation Voters, a left-wing environmental advocacy organization.

Baldwin has now accepted $120,180.52 from lobbyists this cycle.

Despite Baldwin's position on the influence of money in politics, the senator has also failed to disavow contributions from corporate political action committees that include trade associations, law firms, LLCs, and LLPs, as a handful of her Democratic colleagues have done in recent weeks.

The push to reject money from corporate PACs is backed by End Citizens United, who endorsed Baldwin's reelection efforts in April 2017.

Baldwin's campaign did not return a request for comment on the campaign's bundled lobbyist contributions by press time.