Buttigieg campaign says it will return, no longer accept lobbyist donations

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegBefore building sustainably, let's define 'sustainability' Buttigieg labels infrastructure a national security issue 'Funky Academic:' Public has been 'groomed to measure progress by firsts' MORE’s (D) presidential campaign announced Friday it will no longer accept donations from lobbyists and will return over $30,000 in contributions it has already received.

“Mayor Pete will not be influenced by special-interest money, and we understand that making this promise is an important part of that commitment.

"We understand that making this decision and being vocal about our values is important; that the decision means more than just whether or not we are willing to accept money from a specific individual,” the campaign wrote in an email to supporters, saying the refund will amount to $30,250 donated from 39 individuals.


“Standing up for our collective values not only includes saying we believe that campaigns should not take money from lobbyists; it also means being aware of the loopholes that still allow special interests to impact the campaign,” the campaign wrote. 

The campaign vowed to establish internal procedures to ensure it is abiding by its new promise.

The midwestern mayor has surged in recent polls and raked in $7 million in the first quarter of 2019 after several viral moments and an appearance at a CNN town hall that caught the eyes of donors and political observers in Washington.

Buttigieg had won early support from lobbyists with whom he has developed ties throughout his career, but their support presented him a tough decision, as progressive groups have pushed Democratic contenders to reject special interest money.

Several other presidential candidates, including Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWyden: Funding infrastructure with gas tax hike a 'big mistake' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden, Congress drawn into pipeline cyberattack, violence in Israel The Memo: Outrage rises among liberals over Israel MORE (I-Vt.), Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisRepublican Sean Parnell jumps into Pennsylvania Senate race Biden sees Trump rematch as real possibility Ode to Mother's Day MORE (D-Calif.), Cory BookerCory BookerIn honor of Mother's Day, lawmakers should pass the Momnibus Act Bush testifies before Congress about racist treatment Black birthing people face during childbirth, pregnancy Tim Scott sparks buzz in crowded field of White House hopefuls MORE (D-N.J.) and more, have already sworn off corporate and lobbyist donations. Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden, Congress drawn into pipeline cyberattack, violence in Israel The Memo: Outrage rises among liberals over Israel The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Infrastructure, Cheney ouster on deck as Congress returns MORE (D-Mass.) vowed to go a step farther, saying she would not attend high-priced, private fundraisers and one-on-one meetings with wealthy donors.

Buttigieg had already sworn off donations from corporate PACs but did not cut off money from influential lobbying groups until Friday.

The Indiana Democrat’s announcement also comes the same day former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenKinzinger, Gaetz get in back-and-forth on Twitter over Cheney vote Cheney in defiant floor speech: Trump on 'crusade to undermine our democracy' US officials testify on domestic terrorism in wake of Capitol attack MORE’s presidential campaign declared it raked in $6.3 million in its first 24 hours, more than any other candidates’ first-day haul.

About $700,000 of that was garnered at a Thursday fundraiser hosted by Comcast executive David Cohen and health insurance executive Daniel Hilferty, according to The Wall Street Journal.