Sheehy blasts Tester for donations from lobbyists while taking their cash himself - TAI News
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Montana Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tim Sheehy continues to suggest his Democratic opponent is corrupt because he has received campaign contributions from lobbyists. Sheehy, however, has himself accepted large contributions from registered lobbyists and corporate interests.

Sheehy, a millionaire business executive, is challenging Sen. Jon Tester in November’s election. 

In a new Sheehy campaign ad, shared with the site Punchbowl News on April 24, a narrator says: “Corruption runs rampant in Washington. The Bidens took influence peddling to new lows, and career politicians are getting richer at your expense.”

Sheehy then appears on camera and falsely states: “Jon Tester’s one of the worst offenders. He’s the largest recipient of lobbyist cash in D.C.” 

This is not the first time Sheehy has made this claim

“On his way to becoming the number one recipient of lobbyist cash, Jon Tester has talked a lot about standing up to the pay-to-play culture in Washington but hasn’t done a thing to stop it,” he said in a September press release.

A Sheehy spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story. 

The claim appears to be based on data for the 2018 campaign cycle, during which at one point Tester was receiving more money from lobbyists than anyone else in Congress. According to the nonpartisan site Open Secrets, he is not the top recipient of funding from lobbyists in the current election cycle and did not rank in the top 25 for 2022 or 2020, when he was not up for reelection. 

In his ad, Sheehy promises, “As your senator, I’ll ban politicians from becoming lobbyists, stop them from trading stocks, and fight for term limits.”

For his part, Tester is the lead sponsor of the Close the Revolving Door Act, which would impose a lifetime lobbying ban on all members of Congress, and is an original co-sponsor of the Ending Trading and Holdings In Congressional Stocks (ETHICS) Act, which would prohibit lawmakers from trading stock. Both bills await action in the Senate.

Sheehy has himself accepted significant funding from registered lobbyists and from political action committees representing corporate interests.

According to a June 2023 Politico report, Sheehy huddled with about 20 lobbyists to discuss the Senate race before he announced his candidacy at the offices of tobacco behemoth Altria. Three days after entering the race, he accepted the legal maximum donation of $3,300 from the company’s senior vice president for government affairs and public policy and registered lobbyist Todd Walker.

Sheehy received tens of thousands of dollars in contributions from other lobbyists, including lobbyists who represent fossil fuel corporations Chevron and Koch Industries

He has also accepted four-figure donations from the political action committees for electric utility Pinnacle West Capital Corp., oil and gas company Ovintiv, and the American Exploration & Production Council trade association. 

Sheehy has pushed to roll back oil and gas regulations designed to protect the environment, a top priority for the fossil fuel industry.

According to an April 16 analysis of campaign finance filings for the first quarter of 2024 by the Missoulian, Tester significantly outraised Sheehy by about $8 million to about $3 million. Of those amounts, 85% of Tester’s funds came from individual donors compared to about 67% of Sheehy’s.

Sheehy has loaned his campaign about $1.5 million of his own money to date.

Tester has received plaudits for his ethical practices, including voluntarily posting his daily schedule online, conducting ethical audits in his office, and promoting legislation to improve government transparency.

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