Keith Ellison Has Not Donated to Dem Candidates For Midterms

Deputy DNC Chair has given no contributions from his leadership PAC or campaign to other candidates' committees

Rep. Keith Ellison / Getty Images
• May 19, 2018 5:00 am


Rep. Keith Ellison (D., Minn.), the deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), has not given any contributions directly to Democratic candidates from any of his own committees for the midterm elections, filings show.

Ellison's leadership PAC, the Everybody Counts Everybody Matters PAC, has posted lackluster fundraising figures this cycle and shows only $100,000 in contributions. The only expenditure reported from the PAC came last November in the form of a $2,700 contribution to Doug Jones, the Democrat who defeated the scandal-plagued Republican Roy Moore in Alabama's Senate election.

However, since the donation to Jones, the PAC has not provided help to any other Democrats.

Ellison's campaign committee, Ellison for Congress, has raised $2.3 million so far this cycle but also did not report any direct contributions to Democratic campaigns.

The only significant money transfers from Ellison's campaign went to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which has come under fire from progressives for meddling in a number of Democratic primaries in attempts to push out the more liberal candidates.

The DCCC publicly released an opposition research file on Laura Moser, a candidate in Texas's 7th congressional district, angering the progressive base of the party. A secret recording was later released of House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) asking Levi Tillemann, a Democratic candidate in Colorado's 6th congressional district, to leave the race because a "judgment" had been made earlier to support another, more moderate candidate.

Ellison made five transfers to the DCCC last year for a total of $145,000. On Feb. 14, Ellison made another $25,000 to the committee.

Smaller transfers were made to the Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor Party ($26,498) and the DNC ($5,000).

Ellison gave a $2,500 donation to Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (CTUL), a Minnesota-based progressive group of "low-wage workers" who organize campaigns and protests against large retailers.

CTUL is a partner of the Center for Popular Democracy, a New York-based liberal nonprofit that contains old chapters of the now defunct Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). The 501(c)(4) arm of the Center for Popular Democracy leads a massive $80 million anti-Trump network, which was publicly backed by Ellison.

"This national network, led by working class people of color and immigrants, will supply the power and the fight we need to resist the Trump administration's all-out assault on American values," Ellison said at its launch. "I look forward to standing with CPD Action's leaders in the streets and in Congress to win real progressive change."

Ellison's campaign also gave donations to Take Action Minnesota ($1,500), a statewide progressive network that strives for "racial and economic equality" across the state; the Young Democrats of America ($1,000); We the DNC ($1,000), the former committee of Sally Boynton Brown, who ran for DNC chair last year; and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation ($500).

The Keith Ellison Campaign Fund, a joint fundraising committee involving Ellison's PAC and campaign, has reported $250,000 in receipts this cycle and pushed $81,300 to the PAC and $165,000 to the campaign.

Ellison's campaign did not return a request for comment on his lack of donations to Democratic candidates.

Ellison, who is seen as being closer to the Sanders wing of the Democratic Party, was chosen by Tom Perez, the DNC's chair who is closer to the Clinton wing, in attempt to blunt the faction's infighting within the party.

The DNC went on to purge Sanders loyalists, ultimately fueling more infighting.

The cash-strapped DNC also received criticism earlier this year after a Vice report revealed that they had not allocated any of the promised $10 million in funding to state Democratic parties for rebuilding efforts. Following the report, the DNC began sending funds to the parties.

While the state parties were still waiting on their funding, the debt-ridden DNC found a way to conjure up $300,000 to pay Onward Together, Hillary Clinton's "resistance" group, for its email lists.