Two Democratic senators, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, were accused of violating campaign finance rules in the latest episode of the ongoing conflict between their political parties.
The text of a Finance Committee aide’s memo obtained by NBC News says that Sinema and Manchin “brazenly” tried to solicit donations from a number of out-of-state donors who do not report those contributions on their official reports.
The accompanying mailing sent to the recipients listed by the aide in the memo indicates that a “Federal Commission [C.R.] non-profit will be sent in the next few days to distribute [L.A.M. Group’s] information and arrange for your participation in the campaign finance reform debate.”
A public disclosure report filed by L.A.M. Group shows that $15,000 was donated by former Texas House Speaker Joe Straus and $10,000 from New Jersey state Sen. Robert Singer, as well as John H. Nauzycki, of Cincinnati, Ohio, “a large contributor” to Rep. Steve Chabot’s 2012 campaign.
Manchin initially was accused of the same thing when he called on Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, to resign from the Senate. Manchin later acknowledged to Politico he had asked former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour if he would help in his bid to win back his Senate seat. Barbour said he would not.
The Finance Committee did not open an investigation of the two senators.
Manchin lost his race for re-election in November. But Sinema easily won a new term after being appointed to the seat last January.
Manchin responded in an email to NBC News on Wednesday.
“Unfortunately, this attempt by a GOP special interest group to hijack the legislative process to advance its corporate special interest agenda is nothing new,” Manchin said. “That’s why I fought to save the Affordable Care Act, SB+22, protecting the Title-I, Mental Health and Drug Prevention Prevention, and Preventative Services Act which expires September 30. The members of this group should be ashamed for preying on vulnerable voters and trying to pay for this effort by attacking the most vulnerable, women and children. Unfortunately, it takes multiple people within the same organization to create a fiasco, including one of the individuals listed in the letter and one of their beneficiaries. “
The Finance Committee staffer’s memo was first reported by Politico.