WASHINGTON — The National Republican Senatorial Committee says Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., is being duplicitous by taking campaign contributions from the financial sector, including Goldman Sachs, while at the same time demanding tough Wall Street reforms.
In a press release, Republican spokeswoman Amber Marchand said Murray, who is up for re-election, should donate the Goldman Sachs contributions to charity like Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark.
Murray's communications director, Alex Glass, said Murray is not taking contributions from Goldman Sachs, including the firm's political action committee and executives, during this election cycle.
Here's a rundown:
THE FACTS — From 1992, when she was first elected, to the current election cycle, Murray has received nearly $515,000 in contributions from the securities and investment community, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan watchdog group that tracks campaign donations. The financial sector contributed a total of nearly $129 million to Senate and House campaigns from 1989 to 2010.
Murray, a member of the Senate's Democratic leadership, ranked 74th among the 120 senators and former senators who served during the time period in terms of financial sector contributions. President Barack Obama, a former Illinois senator, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the 2008 GOP presidential candidate, received the most. Obama received $16 million and McCain $10.3 million.
When it comes to Goldman Sachs contributions, Murray received $28,000 from the Wall Street firm, which faces a civil case filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission and is reportedly under criminal investigation by the Justice Department. From 1989 to 2010, Goldman Sachs contributed a total of more than $16.4 million to Senate and House candidates. Of the more than 500 current and former members of Congress who received Goldman Sachs contributions between 1989 and 2010, Murray ranked 103rd.
The campaign contributions can be tracked on the Center for Responsive Politics website — www.opensecrets.org.
THE SPIN — Republicans are trying to imply Murray is being two-faced in taking Wall Street money while calling for financial reform. "As Murray plays the populist for the cameras but acts like a practiced politician behind closed doors, Washingtonians can see through her hypocrisy, and they will hold her accountable this November," said Marchand.
Murray has spoken out forcefully for reform, including earlier this week when she said, "We can never again let the risks and irresponsible behavior of Wall Street hurt Main Street this way. It is time to put progress before politics and people before Wall Street."
REALITY — There are no indications Murray violated campaign finance laws in accepting the contributions. During her four campaigns for the Senate, Murray has raised more than $36 million. Neither the financial sector nor Goldman Sachs are among her largest contributors. The National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Committee have been increasingly launching such broadsides even though the fight for Murray's Senate seat has barely begun.