August 14, 2015

Feingold Doubles Down On Fundraising Pledge Flip-Flop

When it first came to light that former Sen. Russ Feingold had broken his longstanding pledge to raise a majority of his funds from within Wisconsin, reports were careful to point out that Feingold still had time to return to his long-held principles. From the National Journal:

[I]t’s a reversal from the iconic in-state fundraising pledge that Feingold painted on his garage in a 1992 campaign ad. Feingold’s opponents, who have organized their campaign around the idea that the former senator’s populist rhetoric doesn’t match up with his actions as a longtime politician, say it’s an example of a changed Feingold—though he still could correct the ratio in the year-plus before the election.

Or not. Feingold rushed to clear up any confusion that he may keep his promise to Wisconsinites in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Russ Feingold said Thursday he will not operate in this campaign by the pledge he made in past races to raise the majority of his money from Wisconsinites.

“It makes no sense now,” Feingold said in an interview…

Feingold’s flip-flop is compounded by his repeated pledges to keep his pledge. Here’s what he said in 1992 when asked if he’d change once elected:

“… I’m promising it for the future. I’m saying that’s a pledge that I’m going to keep,” Feingold said then. “I’m not going to get in there and say, OK, where are the PACs and where are the out-of-state contributions? I’m making a pledge for the future.”

He even reaffirmed his pledge in a 2010 campaign commercial that mirrored his original garage door ad. Feingold, in more trustworthy times:

Given that keeping his pledge made sense just one election cycle ago, it would appear the only thing that has changed since 2010 is how desperate Sen. Feingold is to get elected.