Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) just became the number one recipient of lobbyist cash during the 2018 election cycle, according to new data from the Open Secrets database.
Sen. Brown has raised the most money from lobbyists — $430,226 – during the 2018 election cycle, according to new data from the Center for Responsive Politics’ Open Secrets database. Brown has taken the crown for money raised from Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), who has raised $401,478 from lobbyists this cycle so far.
Vulnerable Senate Democrats up for re-election this cycle have taken the top five spots for most money raised from lobbyists. After Sens. Brown and Tester, Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) have raised the most money from lobbyists.
Sen. Brown—a self-proclaimed populist—has raised over $1,242,445 over his career from lobbyists.
Republican National Committee (RNC) spokeswoman Mandi Merritt said in a statement on Wednesday:
This new ranking puts Sherrod Brown’s hypocrisy on full display, proving he is the ultimate D.C. insider that cozies up to lobbyists. After spending over four decades in Washington D.C., Brown is the epitome of a career politician beholden to special interests that looks out for himself over the interests of Ohioans.
Phillip Wegmann, a columnist for the Washington Examiner, wrote an op-ed on Tuesday explaining how vulnerable Senate Democrats are “falling over each other grabbing for lobbyists’ money.”
Wegmann suggested that Brown’s reign as the number one recipient of lobbyist cash “calls into question the sincerity” of Brown’s frequent calls for campaign finance reform. The Ohio Democrat wrote an op-ed in May 2017 calling President Donald Trump a “fake populist.”
“If you want to call yourself a populist, you better be ready to stick up for the little guy — whether she punches a time clock or earns tips. Whether she works in a call center or a hospital or on a factory floor. Whether he is a contract worker or a temp,” Brown wrote.
Congressman Jim Renacci (R-OH), Sen. Brown’s Republican challenger, told Breitbart News Saturday in August that Ohioans should not be fooled by Brown’s fake populist “magic act.”
The Ohio Republican asked rhetorically, “He continues to put up the magic act every election, and it’s one of the problems that you have to look past. It’s the magic act of saying he’s for the people, but he’s been around for 44 years in politics, he’s been in Congress for 25 years, and where has that magic act gotten us?”
“Whether they have realized it or not, this is a gift to Republicans. They can’t pull off their public populist-private opportunist schtick forever,” Wegmann explained.