• WisPolitics


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

 8:28 AM 

Johnson, Feingold spar over campaign financing


The Feingold and Johnson campaigns traded jabs Tuesday over the Dem's decision to forgo a past pledge to raise most of his money from Wisconsin.

Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson's campaign also knocked former Dem U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold for reports that he collected more than $100,000 in speaking fees between February 2012 and June 2013 after leaving the Senate.

Feingold last week said the political environment has changed since his past pledge to raise the majority of his campaign money from Wisconsin because of the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision.

Republicans have pointed out Feingold had a similar pledge in place for the 2010 election, which took place after the ruling was handed down.

But Feingold's campaign pointed out the promise was made before the decision, which the campaign argued did not affect the 2010 races as much as it has the past two cycles.

"Grassroots donors from around the country deserve the opportunity to push back against the flood of corporate money in a post Citizens United world, which is what they're doing in this campaign," Tom Russell, Feingold's campaign manager, said in a statement from the campaign.

Republicans also have knocked Feingold for collecting speaking fees.

But Feingold's campaign disputed the charge, saying he would not accept fees if elected.

"Russ has always had serious concerns about the influence of corporate money in government," Russell said in the campaign statement. "In an effort to curb that influence, Russ consistently opposed sitting public officials accepting honoraria during the course of their active service."

Dems meanwhile have been pushing Johnson to sign a pledge Feingold issued meant to keep outside money from influencing their race next fall.

The national Club for Growth, for example, has said it will spend $2.5 million on the Feingold-Johnson race.

Johnson's campaign, though, said Feingold needs to "clean up his own house."

"Senator Feingold's hypocrisy knows no bounds -- he should consider coming clean instead of distorting Ron's record of fighting for Wisconsin families," Brian Reisinger, Johnson's spokesman, wrote in an email.


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