Democrat Dean Phillips participated in a Hollywood fundraiser Tuesday night with five other congressional candidates at an attendance cost of $5,000 per person.
Phillips, who is running for Minnesota’s Third Congressional District, has been highly critical of the influence of money in politics while on the campaign trail, so much so that he started his own “Minnesota Way” pledge.
The pledge asks candidates to “reject and return all special interest contributions, including from PACs, federal lobbyists and members of Congress” while committing to “running an accessible campaign.”
“The corrupting influence of money in politics has created a dysfunctional Congress and disenfranchised millions of Americans whose voices are all but ignored in Washington,” Phillips says on his campaign website. “My principles will not be bought and cannot be sold.”
Tuesday night’s fundraiser was hosted by Hollywood’s Writers Guild Theater and was attended by more than three dozen prominent donors, whose contributions were split equally among the candidates in attendance. At a price tag of $5,000 per donor, each candidate, including Phillips, likely walked away with upwards of $30,000 in donations.
According to Variety, donors such and John and Marilyn Wells, Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg, and Jon Vein and Ellen Goldsmith-Vein attended the event organized by writer and director Billy Ray.
“The level of discomfort about the way the Republican Party is ruling is so great that every race feels like a local race,” Ray said. “The people who I am reaching out to feel like they have a vested interest in every one of the House races on Nov. 6.”
The Phillips campaign told The Minnesota Sun that “Dean accepts money from individuals only, no PACs, no special interests, no federal lobbyists and no members of Congress.”
“Dean has received contributions from more than 65,000 individuals at an average of $31 per person. The contributions received were split among many candidates reducing the amount actually received significantly,” the campaign said in a statement. The campaign also noted that Phillips’ opponent Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN-03) has “taken the fifth most money from special interest PACs out of all 435 members of Congress, for a total of more than $8.5 million.”
According to an October poll from KSTP and Survey USA, Phillips leads Paulsen 49 percent to 44 percent.
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