Democrat Representative Tom Malinowski previously claimed that he didn’t take corporate PAC money, but his not-so-clever workarounds allow him to do just that.
In a TV ad from September of 2020, Rep. Tom Malinowski stated that he doesn’t “take corporate PAC money, so they don’t own” him. In the months following the release of that ad, the New Jersey Democrat congressman quietly accepted tens of thousands of dollars from business interest groups and corporate lobbying giants.
During his 2020 run for Congress, Malinowski often touted his “no-corporate PAC pledge,” claiming that the self-imposed ban allows him to “make decisions solely based on” what he thinks is right for his constituents.
But in the last 18 months, the Democrat congressman has accepted almost $43,000 from several business interest groups, corporate lobbying firms, and individual corporate lobbyists, according to federal campaign finance disclosures reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon.
The Washington Free Beacon reports:
House and Senate Democrats use loopholes to accept campaign cash from corporate-funded groups while swearing off corporate money—most take money from congressional leadership committees that are bankrolled by corporations. While this is true of Malinowski, who has accepted at least $200,000 from leadership PACs since September 2020, the New Jersey Democrat has taken the custom a step further by also accepting contributions from business interest groups and corporate lobbying firms. In doing so, Malinowski has taken thousands from groups that attempt to sway Congress in favor of their business interests, a practice the Democrat claims to have sworn off.
Since October 2020, for example, Malinowski has accepted more than $10,000 from lobbying groups such as Winning Strategies Washington and Nelson Mullins. The firms have represented an array of top corporations, including BP, Google, and Comcast. In addition, Malinowski since September 2020 has taken more than $22,000 from business and professional interest groups such as the American Council of Engineering Companies and National Confectioners Association, which represents candy manufacturers and spent nearly $500,000 lobbying the federal government in 2021.
Rep. Malinowski’s willingness to receive campaign donations from these special interest groups completely contradicts the promise he made to his voters that he is not bound to corporate donors.
Further reporting from the Washington Free Beacon adds:
In September 2020, Malinowski dismissed Republicans who criticized his acceptance of corporate cash through leadership committees, contending that because he did not take the money directly from a corporation, he has no reason to feel “indebted” to the original source of the funds. But Malinowski has not addressed his lucrative relationship with business interest groups, and his campaign did not return a request for comment.
In addition to Malinowski’s decision to accept contributions from business groups and corporate lobbying firms, the Democrat has also taken thousands of dollars from individual corporate lobbyists—a move that has landed him in hot water. In February 2021, Malinowski accepted nearly $6,000 from former Democratic state lawmaker Vincent Roberti. Roberti runs a firm that has earned millions of dollars lobbying for Nord Stream 2, the pipeline that would transport national gas from Russia to Germany. Roberti’s Malinowski campaign contribution came just months before the Biden administration waived sanctions on the controversial project.
Malinowski entered the House of Representatives in 2019 after defeating then-GOP incumbent Rep. Leonard Lance by 5 points. The Democrat congressman’s short term, though, has already been filled with controversy. During his first two years in Congress, Malinowski failed to disclose dozens of stock trades that were worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, which was a violation of the STOCK Act, a law that requires members of Congress to report large financial transactions within 30 days. A subsequent investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics found “substantial reason to believe” Malinowski broke federal law.
The scandal-plagued Democrat is considered a top target for the Republicans in the midterms, and will face a difficult reelection bid this November. Tom Malinowski is expected to face former New Jersey Senate minority leader Tom Kean, a Republican, who is again challenging the Democrat after losing to him by just 1 point in 2020.