Iowa Democrat Mike Franken Skirts Self-Imposed No Corporate PAC Money Pledge

Mike Franken, Democrat running for U.S. Senate against Sen. Chuck Grassley in Iowa, speaks
Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Iowa Democrat Senate hopeful Mike Franken has taken money to help fund his campaign from multiple PACs that take in corporate contributions despite having a self-imposed pledge not to take in “one dime of corporate PAC money.”

Franken, who’s running against longtime Republican incumbent Sen. Chuck Grassley, said he would raise money “without taking one dime of corporate PAC money” in May and in June stated, “I don’t take any corporate PAC money. Not a penny.”

However, the Washington Free Beacon recently reported that Franken took $5,000 from Sen. Tim Kaine’s (D-VA) Common Ground PAC — which accepted money from corporations such as Pfizer, Capital One, and Amazon.

In addition, he took $2,500 from Sen. Mark Kelly’s (D-AZ) Liftoff PAC, which accepted money from the National Association of Realtors; and $2,500 from Sen. Tina Smith’s (D-MN) Velvet Hammer PAC, which received money from Wells Fargo, Delta Air Lines, and Goldman Sachs.

The Beacon noted that Franken also took money from Midwest Values PAC, which belongs to former Democrat Sen. Al Franken. He resigned in 2018 after being accused of sexual harassment. Since leaving, he claimed to be thinking of running again, as his PAC raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in the meantime.

The closer look into the Democrat’s campaign contributions came after he claimed Grassley was full of “corporate greed” and under obligation to vote a certain way for “his corporate donors.”

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 11: Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan on Capitol Hill on June 11, 2019 in Washington, DC. Members of the committee and the witness discussed the Secure and Protect Act of 2019 and how it would fix the crisis at the U.S. Southern Border. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

(Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Franken received $1.7 million in campaign contributions in the last fundraising quarter and outraised the incumbent, but Grassley still holds more cash in hand. Grassley also won his previous election in 2016 by roughly 25 points.

A spokesperson for Franken told the Beacon that he “has never taken a dime from corporate PACs.” but did not comment on the other corporate donations.

On the other hand, Matt Dailer, Grassley’s campaign manager, said that the Democrat should either return the donations or just “admit his pledge was nothing more than a hollow stunt.”

“Mike Franken hasn’t even been elected to office and he’s already breaking his word to Iowans,” Dailer added. “He can make up any excuse he wants, but Iowans see through his dishonest word games.”

Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at or follow him on Twitter @JacobMBliss.


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