Swing State Dem Candidate Hit Kari Lake For Taking Corporate Cash — But Big Business Bankrolls His Campaign

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Robert Schmad Contributor
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Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego, the presumptive Democratic nominee for Arizona’s 2024 Senate race, has repeatedly criticized his opponents for being backed by big business, though his campaign has received significant funding from corporate PACs and lobbyists.

Gallego has vowed to take on big business if elected to the Senate, criticized political rivals like Republican nominee Kari Lake for taking corporate money and railed against the influence of lobbyists on public policy. While Gallego remains an open critic of corporate America’s work in Washington and slams opponents for ties to business interests, his campaign has accepted tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of contributions from lobbyists and corporate PACs, disclosures show. (RELATED: House Democrat Ruben Gallego Says He Wants Government To Seize And Redistribute Truckers’ Vehicles)

“One of the things I am most proud of is that almost every dollar we raise comes from donations of less than $50,” a September fundraising email from Gallego reads. “That means when I go to the Senate, I’m not on the hook to some huge corporation or a bunch of lobbyists.”

“Billionaire backers, corporate PACs, everybody on the far-right and the GOP establishment” are throwing their support behind Lake, Gallego said in a January fundraising email. Gallego, in a February email, said that “corporate special interests” are opposed to his candidacy and want to see Lake sent to the Senate.

Prior to independent Arizona Senator Krysten Sinema’s retirement announcement in March, Gallego also attacked her alleged corporate ties while presenting himself as running a grassroots campaign funded by individuals.

“While Kyrsten Sinema raises huge sums of money from Wall Street, small-dollar donations fuel our grassroots campaign to fight for hard-working Arizonans,” Gallego said in April 2023. “Kyrsten Sinema is nothing more than a corporate sellout, more interested in protecting Wall Street than working on behalf of everyday Arizonans,” he said later that month.

“If you can, become a small-dollar donor to help us defeat the banking lobby-backed senior senator for Arizona,” Gallego said in March 2023, referencing Sinema.

Gallego sent a fundraising email in February 2023 criticizing Sinema for taking money from corporate PACs.

The congressman has made a number of statements bolstering his purported anti-corporate credentials.

“I’ve never been to Davos,” Gallego said in January 2023, “but I think small dollar grassroots donors beat corporate interests every time.” He’s also bragged about not making backroom deals with corporate special interests” and pledged to fight “for Arizonans, not corporate lobbyists.”

Despite repeated statements deriding the influence of corporate money on politics, Gallego’s Senate campaign also raked in tens of thousands of dollars in 2023 from PACs affiliated with corporate law firms, defense contractors, big tech companies, corporations that sell nicotine products as well as firms in the financial sector, FEC records show.

PACs affiliated with Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics, major defense contractors, gave $10,000 to Gallego’s campaign in 2023, for instance.

Google and Amazon’s PACs collectively gave Gallego’s Senate campaign $4,500, records show.

PACs affiliated with Juul Labs and Altria Group, major vape and tobacco businesses, gave Gallego $5,000, according to FEC filings.

Gallego accepted over $80,000 from business PACs in 2023, according to FEC records.

Gallego’s wife, Sydney Barron, is a lobbyist for the National Association of Realtors. Gallego has reportedly supported bills pushed by her, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

“Ruben Gallego is literally in bed with a corporate lobbyist,” a spokesperson for Lake told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “It doesn’t get much closer than that, does it?”

While broadly criticizing lobbyists, and attempting to distance himself from them by touting his small-dollar donors, Gallego was raking in cash from lobbyists, disclosures show.

Between his 2022 and 2024 campaigns, Gallego accepted roughly $50,000 from lobbyists, according to lobbying disclosures. Lobbyists who donated to Gallego have worked for MasterCard, Rivian, Amazon, General Motors, JetBlue, CVS and Intel, among other corporations.

Andrew Rosenberg, for example, a lobbyist at Thorn Run Partners who has lobbied for pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Company, gave Gallego thousands since 2022, disclosures show.

Arizona’s Senate race is shaping up to be one of the most competitive of the cycle, with control of the upper chamber potentially being decided in the Copper State. Gallego is likely to square off against Lake in November.

Gallego currently holds a considerable fundraising advantage over Lake, FEC records show.

The Gallego campaign did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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