Lobbyists Love These Swing State Democrats

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Robert Schmad Contributor
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Vulnerable Senate Democrats, who often try to distance themselves from Washington, D.C., have emerged as favorites among employees at the nation’s largest lobbying firms.

Sens. Jon Tester of Montana, Jacky Rosen of Nevada, Bob Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania and Sherrod Brown of Ohio were among the top recipients of donations from people working at the ten firms with the highest lobbying income, a Daily Caller News Foundation review of public records has found. Tester received the second most money of any candidate from America’s top lobbying firms, Rosen was third, Casey was fourth and Brown was fifth, Federal Election Commission (FEC) records show.

Employees at the firms making the most off lobbying have given about $86,000 to Tester, $84,000 to Rosen, $80,000 to Casey and $79,000 to Brown since 2023. (RELATED: Steakhouses, Fancy Restaurants, Booze — Here’s How This Red State Dem Senator Is Spending Campaign Funds)

The top ten firms by lobbying income in 2023 were Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Holland & Knight, BGR Group, Cornerstone Government Affairs, Invariant, Thorn Run Partners, Capitol Counsel, Forbes Tate Partners and Crossroads Strategies, according to OpenSecrets.

These ten firms collectively made about $390 million lobbying in 2023.

While Tester, Rosen, Brown and Casey rake in big money from people working at firms deeply involved in D.C. politics, the senators work to present themselves as outsiders in the nation’s capital who are opposed to money influencing politics.

Tester, for example, often talks about bringing “Montana values to Washington” and “making Washington understand our Montana way of life.”

“Folks in Washington, and even some folks moving here, want to change our Montana way of life,” the senator posted to social media in January.

Rosen has portrayed herself as an outsider seeking to “increase transparency and accountability by reducing the influence of powerful special interests and their lobbyists,” despite being a favorite among lobbyists.

Brown, meanwhile, says that his “job is to fight for people too often overlooked and ignored by Washington, special interests, and Wall Street.” The senator has also complained that “Wall Street lobbyists have had too much power in Washington” and that they “fight against even the most basic common-sense safety rules, everyone else be damned.”

While Brown is critical of lobbyists and special interests, individuals who work at the nation’s largest lobbying firms are relatively fond of Brown.

Casey, on the other hand, has accused Republicans of “campaign[ing] with factory workers but writ[ing] laws for corporate lobbyists.”

Some Republicans did draw significant donations from people working at the nation’s top lobbying firms.

Former California Rep. Kevin McCarthy got roughly $63,000 from employees at top lobbying outfits, according to FEC records. The presidential campaign of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis received about $54,000 and Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker got $47,750.

The Rosen, Tester, Brown and Casey campaigns did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.

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