Topline: The aide who allegedly offered local Iowa politicians money in exchange for their endorsement of 2020 candidate Tom Steyer resigned on Friday, the campaign said, as it attempts to get past the scandal that has engulfed the billionaire hedge fund founder’s presidential bid over the past two days.
- Pat Murphy, a top adviser for Steyer’s Iowa campaign and a former House speaker in the state, offered his resignation after the campaign conducted an investigation into alleged misconduct reported Thursday by the Associated Press.
- “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,” Steyer’s campaign manager Heath Hargreaves said in a statement.
- While ultimately no money exchanged hands, Steyer faced even more criticism because he is a billionaire who is largely self-funding his campaign, and launched his presidential bid focusing on getting money out of politics.
- In a statement Thursday, Murphy didn’t explicitly deny the claims that he offered to pay local politicians for their endorsement of Steyer. “It was never my intention to make my former colleagues uncomfortable, and I apologize for any miscommunication on my part,” he said.
Key background: Steyer founded Farallon Capital in 1986 and turned it into one of the largest hedge fund firms in the country. After stepping back in 2012 to focus on politics and philanthropy, he became a Democratic donor powerhouse, focusing on the environment and, most recently, a campaign to drum up public support for Trump’s impeachment. According to Forbes, Steyer is worth $1.6 billion is mostly self-funding his campaign.
Tangent: Earlier this week, another Steyer aide in South Carolina resigned after stealing volunteer data from Senator Kamala Harris’ campaign, the Post and Courier reported.