GOP Senate candidate funded by lobbyists says he 'can't be bought by the swamp'

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Third-term North Carolina Rep. Ted Budd is no 'outsider.'

Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC) is running for his party's nomination for an open Senate seat as a self-proclaimed "outsider." But already his campaign is heavily fueled by the insiders he claims cannot buy him.

The three-term representative announced last Wednesday that he will run for the seat of retiring Republican Sen. Richard Burr in 2022. "I am a political outsider who can't be bought by the swamp and I don't give a rip about their Washington game," he said in his kickoff video. "I've shoveled a lot of manure on my family's farm, and it's not the dirtiest job I've had now that I've been in Congress." He vowed to be a "liberal agenda crusher."

But a review of his campaign's first-quarter financial filings with the Federal Election Commission conducted American Bridge 21st Century, a Democratic opposition research organization based in Washington, D.C., casts doubt on that claim of independence from powerful monied interests.

The review finds that this year alone Budd has received thousands of dollars from lobbyists and lobbying firms.

A spokesperson for Budd did not immediately respond to an inquiry for this story.

The donations include:

  • $1,000 from CGCN PAC, the corporate political action committee for the government affairs firm CGCN Group. The company lobbies on behalf of dozens of clients, including the American Petroleum Institute, Duke Energy, Hess, and TransCanada Pipelines USA. Budd has advocated for building TransCanada's Keystone XL oil pipeline.
  • $1,000 from Dee Buchanan, a lobbyist for Ogilvy Government Relations.
  • $1,000 from Clifford Roberti, a lobbyist for Federal Hall Policy Advisors.
  • $500 from Chris Brown, a lobbyist for Mindset (formerly known as the Cypress Group).
  • $500 from Alex Gleason, a lobbyist for Crossroads Strategies.
  • $500 from Brian Henneberry, a lobbyist for Koch Industries.
  • $500 from Mathew Lapinski, a lobbyist for Crossroads Strategies.
  • $250 from Saat Alety, a lobbyist for AllState.
  • $250 from Andrew Huff, a lobbyist for the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies.
  • $250 from Andrew Palmer, a lobbyist for Rich Feur Anderson.

Budd has record of voting for far-right interests during his time in Congress.

According to a FiveThirtyEight analysis, he voted with Donald Trump more than 91% of the time.

In 2019, he refused to say whether he thought a president asking foreign countries to interfere in U.S. elections was OK, saying it was a "tricky question," after news emerged that Trump had asked Ukraine and China to dig up dirt on Joe Biden, the man who would ultimately defeat him in the 2020 election.

In April 2020, Budd opposed emergency stay-at-home orders designed to curb the spread of the coronavirus, accusing Democratic politicians of having a "socialist bent" and warning about such restrictions, "Let's not destroy things."

In February, he argued that instead of passing Biden's $1.9 trillion pandemic relief legislation, the "best stimulus" would be for Congress to pass a liability shield for businesses and take away the right of workers to sue if their employers caused them to get sick.

Also this year, Budd filed a bill requiring the reinstatement of Donald Trump's defunct 1776 Commission, which aimed to prevent schools from teaching about America's real history of racism; denounced "cancel culture" when the House of Representatives moved to punish Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene over racist and violent statements and actions; and complained about an NBA team's short-lived decision not to play the national anthem prior to its games.

Budd will likely face several prominent opponents for the GOP nomination. Former Gov. Pat McCrory, former Rep. Mark Walker, and other Republicans have already gotten in the race, while Trump's daughter-in-law Lara Trump is also considering mounting a campaign.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.