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Top Iowa aide to Steyer's campaign resigns after AP report

A top Iowa aide to businessman Tom Steyer resigned Friday, a day after The Associated Press revealed he had privately offered campaign contributions to local politicians in exchange for endorsing Steyer's White House bid.

Posted: Nov 8, 2019 8:45 PM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A top Iowa aide to businessman Tom Steyer resigned Friday, a day after The Associated Press revealed he had privately offered campaign contributions to local politicians in exchange for endorsing Steyer's White House bid.

Steyer's Democratic presidential campaign announced the resignation of Pat Murphy, a former House speaker who served as a top adviser on Steyer's Iowa campaign.

"After the conclusion of an investigation alleging improper communications with elected officials in Iowa, Pat Murphy has offered his resignation from the campaign effective immediately," Steyer's campaign manager Heather Hargreaves wrote in a statement. "Our campaign policy is clear that we will not engage in this kind of activity, or any kind of communication that could be perceived as improper. Violation of this policy is not tolerated.

In a statement Thursday, Murphy apologized for but did not deny the interactions and said the concerns expressed by his former colleagues about his overtures were the result of a "miscommunication." He didn't immediately respond to messages from the AP seeking comment Friday.

The overtures from Murphy weren't illegal — though payments for endorsements would violate campaign finance laws if not disclosed. There's no evidence that any Iowans accepted the offer or received contributions from Steyer's campaign as compensation for their backing.

Murphy's departure leaves Steyer without an Iowa political director with less than three months until the state's lead-off caucuses. The businessman remains mired at the bottom of the polls.

Steyer said Thursday that he first learned about the allegations while driving to an event in South Carolina that day and that no payments had gone to officials in Iowa.

Tom Courtney, a former Democratic state senator from southeastern Iowa who's running for reelection to his old seat, had told the AP that the financial offer "left a bad taste in my mouth."

Several other local politicians said they received similar propositions from Murphy. Most spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity to discuss the issue freely. Iowa state Rep. Karin Derry said Murphy didn't explicitly offer a specific dollar amount, but made it clear Derry would receive financial support if she backed Steyer.

"It was presented more as, he has provided financial support to other down-ballot candidates who've endorsed him, and could do the same for you," she said.

Courtney described a similar interaction with Steyer's campaign.

"Tom, I know you're running for Senate. I'm working for Tom Steyer," Courtney recalled hearing from the aide. "Now you know how this works. ... He said, 'You help them, and they'll help you.'"

"I said, 'It wouldn't matter if you're talking monetary, there's no amount,'" Courtney continued. "I don't do that kind of thing."

Murphy is the second Steyer aide to resign this week. His deputy South Carolina state director resigned Monday after accessing volunteer data from California Sen. Kamala Harris' campaign.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Reported Deaths: 3751
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Hennepin688981130
Ramsey28948512
Anoka23196232
Dakota23102194
Washington14590120
Stearns14314121
St. Louis9280117
Scott881056
Wright827145
Olmsted702536
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Clay521359
Carver501315
Kandiyohi432024
Rice427738
Blue Earth426617
Crow Wing376237
Otter Tail332725
Chisago326914
Benton317253
Nobles313731
Winona292031
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Mower270623
Polk266226
Morrison241730
Lyon228712
Beltrami227518
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Steele20568
Itasca202223
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Mille Lacs161231
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Murray6064
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Koochiching4106
Lac qui Parle3984
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Grant2956
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Cook790

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 234817

Reported Deaths: 2486
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk34631341
Linn14655168
Scott1166189
Black Hawk11194139
Woodbury10622133
Johnson979337
Dubuque941594
Story698323
Pottawattamie664871
Dallas657159
Sioux380529
Webster371639
Cerro Gordo367649
Marshall357647
Clinton341444
Buena Vista313114
Des Moines298621
Muscatine298271
Warren291714
Plymouth284444
Wapello263772
Jones235917
Jasper229746
Lee225617
Marion210222
Carroll203624
Bremer200212
Henry19137
Crawford181016
Benton174023
Tama156641
Washington149715
Jackson148814
Delaware147021
Dickinson143811
Boone142412
Mahaska133328
Wright13007
Clay12254
Buchanan122010
Hardin121011
Hamilton117713
Page11664
Kossuth11608
Clayton11399
Cedar112513
Harrison110832
Floyd110219
Calhoun10907
Fayette108712
Mills10858
Lyon10619
Butler10576
Winneshiek102713
Poweshiek102013
Iowa100213
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Chickasaw9084
Hancock9008
Sac8978
Louisa89321
Grundy88911
Allamakee87013
Mitchell8369
Cass83524
Union8166
Appanoose80713
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Shelby79511
Emmet78626
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Franklin76021
Jefferson7512
Madison7174
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Palo Alto6734
Keokuk6477
Pocahontas5984
Howard5809
Osceola5411
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