Andrew Yang

Democratic presidential candidate former technology executive Andrew Yang hands an envelope to New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner, left, as he files to have his name listed on the New Hampshire primary ballot, Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Tom Steyer aide offered money for endorsements

DES MOINES, Iowa — A top aide to Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer in Iowa privately offered campaign contributions to local politicians in exchange for endorsing his White House bid, according to multiple people with direct knowledge of the conversations.

The overtures from Pat Murphy, a former state House speaker who is serving as a top adviser on Steyer’s Iowa campaign, aren’t illegal — though payments for endorsements would violate campaign finance laws if not disclosed. There’s no evidence that any Iowans accepted the offer or received contributions from Steyer’s campaign as compensation for their backing.

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But the proposals could revive criticism that the billionaire Steyer is trying to buy his way into the White House. Several state lawmakers and political candidates said they were surprised Steyer’s campaign would think he could purchase their support.

Tom Courtney, a former Democratic state senator from southeastern Iowa who’s running for reelection to his old seat, told The Associated Press that the financial offer “left a bad taste in my mouth.”

Murphy said concerns about his outreach were the result of a “miscommunication.”

As Steyer met with voters in Bluffton, South Carolina, on Thursday, the first question posed to him was about the AP report. He said that he learned about the allegations while driving to the event and that no payments had gone to officials in Iowa.

Courtney declined to name Murphy as the Steyer aide who made the offer, but several other local politicians said they received similar propositions, and all confirmed the proposal came from Murphy himself. Most spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the issue freely.

Two more presidential hopefuls qualify for Arkansas ballot

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Two more presidential hopefuls are among the hundreds of candidates who have filed paperwork to appear on the ballot in Arkansas next year.

Representatives for former Maryland Congressman John Delaney filed paperwork Thursday for him to run in the state’s Democratic presidential primary next year. California businessman Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente’s campaign also filed his paperwork to run in the Republican presidential primary. Arkansas’ primary is March 3 and filing for the election began Monday. The filing period ends November 12.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and former White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders planned to file President Donald Trump’s paperwork Friday to appear on the Arkansas ballot.

Andrew Yang’s ‘Freedom Dividend’ matches New Hampshire filing fee.

CONCORD, N.H. — Tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang found a certain symbolism in the sign-up fee to get on the ballot for New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary.

Yang became the latest candidate Friday to sign paperwork at the secretary of state’s office and pay the $1,000 fee. The amount matches his signature issue — establishing a monthly “Freedom Dividend” for all Americans.

Yang called his campaign “electric” and said he will “blow through expectations” in Iowa and New Hampshire. He said the crowd of supporters who greeted him Friday was proof that democracy still works, and that at a time when government has become a tangle of pipes clogged with lobbyist money, New Hampshire voters will “flush the pipes clean.”

The Associated Press

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