Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) likes to come across as a man of the people, a self-proclaimed populist who “sticks up for the little guy.”
At a rally on the campus of Ohio University, Browned railed against the “gun lobby,” among other special interests tied to Republicans.
But according to new data published by the non-partisan Center for Responsible Politics, Brown, a career politician who has held elected office for 36 years, has became the number-one recipient of lobbyist cash during the 2018 election cycle.
Vulnerable Senate Democrats up for re-election this cycle have taken the top five spots for most money raised from lobbyists. After Sens. Brown and Tester, Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) have raised the most money from lobbyists.
Brown has raised over $1.24 million over his career from lobbyists.
Republican National Committee (RNC) spokeswoman Mandi Merritt said in a statement on Wednesday:
This new ranking puts Sherrod Brown’s hypocrisy on full display, proving he is the ultimate D.C. insider that cozies up to lobbyists. After spending over four decades in Washington D.C., Brown is the epitome of a career politician beholden to special interests that looks out for himself over the interests of Ohioans.”
One of the favorite themes of Democrats running in the 2018 midterms has been that Republicans are too in bed with “corporate PACs.”
But Phillip Wegmann, in an op-ed Tuesday for the Washington Examiner, reported that vulnerable Senate Democrats are “falling over each other grabbing for lobbyists’ money.”
Brown’s rise to the number-one recipient of lobbyist cash “calls into question the sincerity” of Brown’s frequent calls for campaign finance reform, according to Wegmann.
Brown even penned and op-ed in May 2017 calling President Donald Trump a “fake populist.”
“If you want to call yourself a populist, you better be ready to stick up for the little guy — whether she punches a time clock or earns tips. Whether she works in a call center or a hospital or on a factory floor. Whether he is a contract worker or a temp,” Brown wrote.
Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH), who is challenging for Brown’s Senate seat, told Breitbart News that Ohioans should not be fooled by Brown’s fake-populist “magic act.”
“He continues to put up the magic act every election, and it’s one of the problems that you have to look past. It’s the magic act of saying he’s for the people, but he’s been around for 44 years in politics, he’s been in Congress for 25 years, and where has that magic act gotten us?”
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Anthony Accardi is a writer and reporter for The Ohio Star.