Russ Feingold, trying to win his old Senate seat back, has gone Hollywood.
After spending years promising to raise most of his campaign funds from in-state donors, the former Wisconsin Democratic senator has done away with that old pledge and is now taking money from some big Hollywood liberals.
According to campaign disclosures, Feingold has accepted contributions from director Steven Spielberg; Dreamworks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg; director/producer JJ Abrams of “Lost” fame; Tim Disney, the great-nephew of Walt Disney; Bradley Whitford and Thomas Schlamme of “The West Wing”; actress Kate Capshaw from “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”; and Hollywood financial adviser Gerald Breslauer.
Feingold is running again for the Senate against Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, who defeated the three-term incumbent Democrat in the 2010 Senate race. While in the Senate, the Democrat pushed campaign finance reform, including co-sponsoring the McCain-Feingold legislation.
Dating back to his 1992 Senate campaign, Feingold promised to bankroll the majority of his campaign through donations from Wisconsin. “I will rely on Wisconsin citizens, not out of staters, to pay for this campaign,” Feingold said in a 1992 ad. He also renewed that promise in 2010.
But last week, the National Journal did an analysis of Feingold’s Federal Election Commission report and determined that only 43 percent of the Democrat’s donations so far have come from Wisconsin.
Speaking to a local news outlet after the National Journal report, Feingold acknowledged that he was no longer abiding by his past pledge. “It makes no sense now,” Feingold said, referring to the new political campaign finance landscape.
“Every single election is different based on the reality of the campaign finance law at the time,” Feingold told the Journal Sentinel. “What I did in the past is to offer a pledge or a series of proposals for a six-year term.”
Meanwhile, Johnson’s campaign is criticizing Feingold for doing away with the self-imposed pledge. “Senator Feingold built his whole career on his campaign finance promises. Now, he’s breaking his promises,” Brian Reisinger of the Johnson campaign told the newspaper.