Biden campaign says it's returning money from lobbyists

Biden campaign says it's returning money from lobbyists
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Former Vice President Joe Biden's presidential campaign on Tuesday said it would return the money recently given by lobbyists, the same day a report highlighted the thousands of dollars in cash donated to the campaign by members of the influence industry.

The campaign told The Hill that its policy is to return donations from federally registered lobbyists. The statement came in response to an inquiry following a report by The Associated Press that found lobbyists had given the campaign money despite a pledge from Biden not to accept such contributions.

The AP reported that at least six federally registered lobbyists, including representatives of Google, Lockheed Martin and pharmaceutical companies, gave the campaign about $6,000 in contributions. It found that two other lobbyists who registered just before donating to Biden's campaign donated $5,750.


The campaign also received about $200,000 from employees of prominent lobbying firms, according to the wire service. 

Biden has said he will not take money from lobbyists or corporate PACs.

Campaign spokesman Matt Hill told the AP that Biden will "fight the influence of corporations and special interests in our political system, which is why his campaign refuses donations from corporations, their PACs, and federal lobbyists."

Biden has previously faced scrutiny from progressive groups because many of his allies, including former aides, hold high-level positions in the lobbying world

Biden supporters also launched the For the People PAC, aiming to raise millions for his presidential run. His campaign, however, distanced itself from the group, noting that "Vice President BidenJoe BidenBiden prepares to confront Putin Ukrainian president thanks G-7 nations for statement of support Biden aims to bolster troubled Turkey ties in first Erdoğan meeting MORE does not welcome assistance from super PACs."

The former vice president has consistently polled as the front-runner among the 20 candidates vying for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. 

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this report misidentified David Cohen's position at Comcast. He is the company's senior vice president and chief diversity officer.

--This report was updated on Sept. 4 at 1:01 p.m.