Joe Manchin Jointly Fundraised With Democrat Challenging Incumbent Republican

Despite pledge, Manchin joined joint fundraising committee with Jacky Rosen this cycle

Sen. Joe Manchin / Getty Images
February 7, 2018

Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.V.) urged his Senate colleagues to join him in a pledge not to campaign against incumbents or fundraise for their opponents, but records show he has already been part of a fundraising operation against Nevada incumbent senator Dean Heller (R.).

Manchin publicly signed the pledge Tuesday on the Senate floor. He told CNN he would like to make it an official ethics violation to raise money to oust incumbents.

Records show, however, that Manchin's campaign was part of a joint fundraising committee, Blue Senate 2018, with three other Democrats, including Jacky Rosen's campaign to unseat Heller in Nevada.

Manchin and Rosen were both added to the committee last October, according to a filing with the Federal Election Commission. The other two campaigns involved were for incumbent senators Tim Kaine (D., Va.) and Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.).

Documents filed a week ago by Blue Senate 2018 show all of the campaigns involved raised thousands of dollars through the joint fundraising committee. On Dec. 28, 2017, the committee transferred $32,390 to Manchin, $28,960 to Rosen, $29,557 to Kaine, and $31,913 to Stabenow.

A spokesman for Manchin said the senator does not think participating in a fundraising operation with a candidate challenging a sitting senator is a violation of his pledge.

"Sen. Manchin attended a fundraiser for himself, raised money for his own campaign and never raised, donated, or solicited donations against his good friend, Sen. Heller," said spokesman Jonathan Kott.

Manchin's campaign also dismissed criticism on Tuesday from Republicans, who pointed out Manchin's direct contributions to Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes for her 2014 campaign against Republican senator Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and labeled him the "most transparently hypocritical politician in Washington, D.C."

Kott told CNN Manchin in 2014 exempted donations to campaigns against party leaders from his policy against fundraising against sitting members because they are "the two senators who are most responsible for the dysfunction in Washington."

Heller, like Manchin, is viewed as one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the Senate.