Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) said on Wednesday that she will not accept campaign donations from corporate PACs or federal lobbyists because her "values are never for sale," but she previously accepted millions from those same entities during her time as a politician, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Gillibrand held a news conference in Troy, New York following her announcement on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" Tuesday night, where she publicly disclosed that she was forming a presidential exploratory committee.
"I think it's important for people to know my values are never for sale, and that's why I banned corporate PAC checks. It's why I'm not taking money from federal lobbyists, and it's why I don't think individuals should have super PACs," Gillibrand said.
She was also asked about a CNBC report claiming that she was reaching out to Wall Street executives to gauge whether they would be willing to support her during the Democratic primary. She didn't deny the report, but she argued that her record shows she has stood up to big business.
"You just have to look at the facts. I voted against the bailout twice–two cosponsors for a bill to do a transaction tax. I believe that Glass-Steagall makes sense … I supported Dodd-Frank," Gillibrand said. "Just look at the facts and look at my record. I always speak for what's right regardless of who might be angry or disappointed."
Gillibrand was first elected to Congress in 2006 and was appointed to fill a Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton in 2009 when the former secretary of state left to join the Obama administration. Gillibrand took $1,008,944 from lobbyists between 2005 and 2018, according to Open Secrets. She accepted $4,962,153 from business-connected PACs during the same time.
Gillibrand tweeted on Tuesday that she would not "accept contributions from corporate PACs or federal lobbyists," adding that she's "not afraid to take on Trump, special interests or any powerful system."
The campaign we're building will have one core mission: restoring power to people. I won’t accept contributions from corporate PACs or federal lobbyists, and I'm not afraid to take on Trump, special interests or any powerful system – never have been.
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) January 15, 2019