A top aide to Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer offered campaign contributions to Iowa politicians in exchange for endorsements, the Associated Press reported Thursday.
The quid-pro-quo offers came from Pat Murphy, a former state house speaker, and could technically be legal if the payments were disclosed. So far no politician in Iowa has taken Steyer's offer.
While Steyer denied the allegations on the campaign trail, the report comes against the backdrop of attacks from other presidential candidates who say Steyer is trying to buy his way into the election.
"We haven't given any money to anyone in Iowa, nor are we planning to," he said on the campaign trail in South Carolina. "There's no way we would ever do that."
Murphy, an adviser on Steyer's campaign, told the AP "as a former legislator, I know how tricky the endorsement process can be for folks in Iowa. It was never my intention to make my former colleagues uncomfortable, and I apologize for any miscommunication on my part."
Steyer spent about $47 million of his own money on his campaign from its launch in July of this year through the end of September.