Political candidates across the ideological spectrum have campaigned on the promise that they will not be influenced by corporate cash and political action committees, but it is rarely a vow that remains unbroken.
That trend was apparently evidenced once again in the case of U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-CT), a progressive legislator who repeated stated during her first congressional bid that she would never accept PAC money — but documents suggest otherwise.
“Clean up the influence of money in politics”
Federal Elections Commission filings revealed that she has accepted six figures in the form of corporate-linked donations.
As many freshman candidates pledge on the campaign trail, Hayes promised supporters in 2018 that she would not be on the receiving end of corporate PAC money, describing herself as someone who aimed to “clean up the influence of money in politics.”
She told voters during a debate that she “would not take corporate money,” specifically mentioning firearms manufacturers and private prisons as off-limit industries.
Data from the FEC, however, indicates that she failed to uphold her promise to constituents. In total, she raked in $102,000 from committees operated by many of the nation’s largest corporations, including Walmart and Comcast.
Hayes campaign manager Barabara Ellis advised that the lawmaker’s stance changed upon winning her 2018 race.
“A hypocrite who broke the simplest promise”
“The congresswoman accepts corporate PAC money,” Ellis said. “Her position evolved from the time she was a new candidate.”
The National Republican Congressional Committee did not pass up the opportunity to highlight the apparent reversal, as spokesperson Samantha Bullock revealed in a statement.
“Johana Hayes is a hypocrite who broke the simplest promise she made to her constituents the moment she got to D.C.,” Bullock said.
Adding to the Connecticut Democrat’s troubles is the growing consensus that Republicans are on the path to regaining a majority in the House after next year’s midterm elections, primarily by winning elections in districts where the presidential election was especially close, including Hayes’ district.
After gaining attention as the first Black congresswoman elected in the state, it remains to be seen whether this controversy could hurt her prospects of remaining in office for another term.