Controversy hit the Democratic race for president today as AP has published a report saying that an aid to Tom Steyer, the billionaire candidate who has promoted the idea of impeaching Donald J. Trump pretty much since day 1 of Trump’s tenure, is trading endorsements for cash.

A top aide to Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer in Iowa has privately offered campaign contributions to local politicians in exchange for endorsing his White House bid, according to multiple people with direct knowledge of the conversations.

The overtures from Pat Murphy, a former state House speaker who is serving as a top adviser on Steyer’s Iowa campaign, aren’t illegal — though payments for endorsements would violate campaign finance laws if not disclosed. There’s no evidence that any Iowans accepted the offer or received contributions from Steyer’s campaign as compensation for their backing.

But the proposals could revive criticism that the billionaire Steyer is trying to buy his way into the White House. Several state lawmakers and political candidates said they were surprised Steyer’s campaign would think he could buy their support. — (AP)

It is quite an ironic turn indeed, if found to be true. Steyer has made a huge deal out of Donald Trump’s corrupt ways. Is the billionaire candidate trying to buy his way on to the stage or even into the presidency? Is Pat Murphy acting on his own or under Steyer’s direction. Either way wouldn’t look good for the billionaire candidate. Either he is doing something similar to what he is accusing the POTUS of or he has no control of the people who work for him. If true, Steyer would probably be best served to nip this in the bud if he is to have any chance of continuing as a serious candidate in the race.

An example of the accusations include Tom Courtney, a former Democratic state senator from southeastern Iowa. Courtney is running for reelection to his old seat. He told The Associated Press he received a financial offer and it “left a bad taste in my mouth.”

“Tom, I know you’re running for Senate. I’m working for Tom Steyer,” Courtney recalled hearing from the aide. “Now you know how this works. …He said, ‘you help them, and they’ll help you.’”

“I said, ‘it wouldn’t matter if you’re talking monetary, there’s no amount,’” Courtney continued. “I don’t do that kind of thing.”

Others echoed Courtney’s story, though most asked to remain anonymous in order to speak freely.

Alberto Lammers, Steyer’s campaign press secretary, said the candidate hasn’t made any individual contributions to local officials in Iowa  nor will he make any this year. In an email, Lammers said Steyer’s endorsements “are earned because of Tom’s campaign message,” and tried distance the candidate from Murphy.

“Our campaign policy is clear that we will not engage in this kind of activity, and anyone who does is not speaking for the campaign or does not know our policy,” Lammers said.

Steyer has just received one other endorsement besides Murphy so far in Iowa, and that person denies any offers of cash. That candidate, former state rep. Roger Thomas says that he endorsed Steyer because of his policies, not any promises of money. Steyer’s financial disclosures do not show any payments to Thomas’s campaign but that filing was due September 30th, days before Thomas’s endorsement.

Time and evidence will tell if this accusation is accurate. It could be true, or it could be a sinister story planted by a rival candidate or organization. Whatever the case,  Tom Steyer will need to clean this up quickly or face the reality of leaving the POTUS race.