“I’ve never taken PAC money and I have rejected all special interest money because I have stood strong and have taken legal action against many of those special interests,” Attorney General Richard Blumenthal told the host of MSNBC’s Morning Meeting just one day after announcing his candidacy for the U.S. Senate.
A full four months later Blumenthal’s first campaign finance report seems to contradict that statement.
The partial report, which was filed online Wednesday, shows that Blumenthal raised $223,250 in PAC contributions, at least $118,000 are calculated here.
Linda McMahon, the former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO who is vying for the Republican nomination, wasted no time criticizing Blumenthal for the reversal.
“Dick Blumenthal today is raising special interest cash just as earnestly as he rejected it a few months ago,” McMahon’s spokesman Ed Patru said. “If he thought special interest money would compromise his ability to enforce laws as A.G., why doesn’t he think it will compromise his ability to write laws as a Senator?”
Blumenthal’s campaign chairman Michael Cacace fired back.
“Given what we’ve learned about Linda McMahon, it’s laughable for her to question Dick Blumenthal’s integrity,“ Cacace said. “While Dick Blumenthal has been taking on big fights on behalf of the people of Connecticut, Linda McMahon has been a special interest, playing the ultimate insider game of hiring lobbyists to weaken drug regulations and line her own pocket.”
“The people of Connecticut know Dick Blumenthal will take on powerful interests, and fight tirelessly for them in the Senate, as he always has as Attorney General. Linda McMahon’s whole candidacy is funded by one special interest—World Wrestling Entertainment.”
McMahon has said she’s willing to spend as much as $50 million on the race.
But Patru said there’s a distinction between McMahon’s personal money and the WWE. He said Blumenthal’s campaign knows the WWE cannot fund campaigns.
“Linda is funding this race with money she earned herself and she’s rejecting all special interest cash because she refuses to sacrifice her independence for campaign contributions,” said Patru. “Dick Blumenthal shouldn’t have made this commitment to Connecticut voters if he didn’t intend to keep his promise, and if he made a promise, he should keep his word. He’s been in this race just a few weeks, and he already looks like a typical Washington politician.”
Some of the PAC’s that gave money to Blumenthal are headed by Democratic leadership in the U.S. Senate. He received money from Senator Barbara Boxer’s PAC, Senator Patrick Leahy’s PAC, and Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid’s PAC.
He also received money from some industry PAC’s including those of Aflac, Phoenix Companies Inc., and the ING American Insurance Holdings PAC. In addition to industry PAC’s he received money from organized labor PAC’s such as the American Postal Workers Union and Laborers’ International Union of North America.
Blumenthal raised a total of $1.87 million from over 2,300 donors during his first fundraising period, but his campaign is well aware that it has an uphill battle.
“We are potentially facing a self-funded opponent who intends to spend $50 million of her own money on this race,” Cacace said in an April 8 email. “We’re taking nothing for granted, and Dick will continue to work as tirelessly as he always has to earn the support of Connecticut’s voters in November.”