A Democratic PAC that has spent millions attacking Republican Senate candidate John James took donations from the United Auto Workers (UAW), whose former president pleaded guilty to embezzlement last week.
Former UAW President Gary Jones pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $1 million in union dues in addition to charges of racketeering and tax evasion. He is one of 14 former UAW officials convicted in an ongoing federal corruption investigation.
According to a press release from the Better Future MI Fund, the Senate Majority PAC received a $1 million donation from the UAW. That’s one of the two largest donations the UAW has made during the 2020 election cycle along with a $1 million donation to the House Majority PAC, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
The Senate Majority PAC has spent $4.3 million in independent expenditures against James, who is running against incumbent Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI).
The UAW also gave $105,000 to Michigan Senate Victory 2020, a joint fundraising committee that supports both Peters and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
“Gary Peters is silent on the UAW corruption and their million-dollar donation to aid his re-election because he is a career politician solely focused on increasing his personal wealth,” said Tori Sachs, a consultant to the Better Future MI Fund. “UAW members are the hard-working backbone to Michigan’s economy and it’s disgraceful that Peters is silent on the corruption taking place with their money and the funds being directed toward his campaign.”
The group also criticized Peters for enriching himself while in office, claiming his net worth has doubled to more than $4.3 million over the last decade.
Michigan’s Democratic Party, meanwhile, is criticizing James for “hiding from Michiganders and trying to paper over his out-of-touch agenda.” In a new campaign ad, the party highlights “example after example of how James has prioritized cozying up with donors and avoiding Michigan press.”
“John James has spent the first year of his campaign hiding from Michiganders and refusing to answer questions on his ‘2000 percent’ support for Trump and extreme positions that are bad for working families,” said Michigan Democratic Party spokesperson Elena Kuhn. “Michiganders deserve an independent voice in the Senate who will work across the aisle, not someone who will spend his time hiding and be a rubber stamp for Washington Republicans.”
There are 35 Senate seats up for grabs in 2020, including 23 seats currently held by Republicans and 12 currently held by Democrats. Polling shows the campaign between James and Peters is among the top 10 most competitive Senate races this year.
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