(Updated 4:28 p.m.) It’s no secret that Susan Bysiewicz has been campaigning hard to paint U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy as a friend of Wall Street even though progressive advocacy groups and unions continue to endorse him over her.
On Wednesday Bysiewicz‘s campaign pointed to the $11,500 JP Morgan Chase & Company‘s PAC and employees gave to Murphy‘s campaign. According to OpenSecrets.org Murphy received $6,000 from the PAC and $5,500 from individual employees.
“This is why I am calling on Congressman Murphy to return the $6,000 he has received from JP Morgan’s PAC,” Bysiewicz said in a press release. “By returning JP Morgan’s PAC contribution Congressman Murphy will show that he is willing to stand with the middle class rather than Wall Street’s power brokers.”
JP Morgan Chase’s multi-billion dollar trading loss two weeks ago has renewed calls for tougher government regulations.
Asked about whether he would consider giving the money back, Murphy said he hadn’t seen or read Bysiewicz’s press release.
“The difference between Susan Bysiewicz and I in this election is that Susan’s got a plan on her website and I’ve got a record,” Murphy said. “When it comes to the way Wall Street does business I’m proud of my record.”
“I’m proud of the fact that Congress actually stood up to Wall Street and passed a reform bill that they hate and they want to repeal, but is in the process of changing the rules,” Murphy said Wednesday at the New Britain Public Library.
Bysiewicz argues Congress didn’t change the rules enough because just two weeks ago JP Morgan Chase lost at least $2 billion dollars by using the trading techniques that according to some measures like the Volcker rule would stop.
“Holding Wall Street Accountable with real reform is one of the most important steps Congress can take to stand-up for the middle class,” Bysiewicz said.
Murphy said he thinks the contrast in the race for U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman’s seat isn’t going to be about where their donations come from, but it’s going to be about their records and their vision for the future of the state.
So far Bysiewicz has been unable to get the Wall Street label to stick to Murphy.
“The truth is that nobody in Connecticut is buying the attack because it’s made up out of thin air,” Taylor Lavender, Murphy’s deputy communications director, said in an emailed statement. “Chris has been fighting for Wall Street reform for years – Bysiewicz seems to have simply brought up this issue in the last 12 months because she thinks it polls well.”
Tom Swan, executive director of the Connecticut Citizen Action Group, said the media should be asking Bysiewicz why in her failed effort to run for Attorney General in 2010 she opted out of the state’s public financing system.
“The hypocrisy behind that just is amazing,” Swan said.
Jonathan Ducote, Bysiewicz’s campaign manager, said the question was simply a “distraction” from the issues of the U.S. Senate campaign.
“The insider part of this game is over. What’s his plan to stand up to Wall Street?” Ducote said in a phone interview. “We haven’t heard one yet.”
The answer won’t satisfy Swan’s desire to understand why Bysiewicz opted out of the public campaign finance system when she decided to switch her gubernatorial campaign to a campaign for Attorney General. Swan said he sent her an email back in 2010 when he read the news of her opting out and never received a response.
Click here to read our 2010 report and the shocked reactions of advocates and lawmakers that Bysiewicz, the former chief state elections official, would opt out of the landmark public campaign finance system just because it was being challenged in court.
Swan said he was confident that if public financing became available at the federal level Murphy would participate.
The Connecticut Citizen Action Group headed by Swan endorsed Murphy Wednesday in the basement of the New Britain Library.
“Chris has a tremendous track record of standing up to moneyed interests to make government work more effectively for Connecticut families,” Swan said. “His election will be the type of change Connecticut voters need and deserve in the U.S. Senate.”
Bysiewicz, who received enough support at the Democratic convention to primary Murphy, received help in 2011 from EMILY’s list, the largest political action committee focused on electing pro-choice female candidates, and the National Organization of Women Political Action Committee.
Murphy has received the endorsement of the Democratic Party with 76 percent of the delegates, the Working Families Party, SEIU District 1199, CCAG, the Connecticut Hispanic Democratic Caucus, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, most of Connecticut’s congressional delegation, the Connecticut Fire Fighters Association, and countless other labor groups.