Release: Erik Paulsen Is Now the 4th-Biggest Taker of PAC Money in Congress

Richard Carlbom: 651-261-1306

Paulsen Gets Promoted: Erik Paulsen Is Now the 4th-Biggest Taker of PAC Money in Congress
Paulsen’s special interest patrons are desperate, scrambling to buy election as Paulsen’s negative campaign backfires

Erik Paulsen’s unprecedented negative campaign has drawn public rebuke from independent journalists, community leaders, sexual harassment and assault survivors, attorneys, and members of his own party in the past week alone. Meanwhile, special-interest groups and super PACs are pouring money into Paulsen’s campaign coffers and spending even more on his behalf, doubling down on their deceitful campaign in a last-ditch effort to protect their investment. As a result, Congressman Erik Paulsen is now the fourth-biggest taker of PAC money in all of Congress, up from sixth just a few weeks ago, and eighth in August.

“Erik Paulsen has sold his votes to the highest bidder,” said Zach Rodvold, campaign manager for Phillips for Congress. “Voters should ask: can the 4th-biggest taker of special-interest money in all of Congress really represent the people of Minnesota’s Third Congressional District? Congressman Paulsen’s record — voting 98% of the time with Donald Trump, and over and over again with special interests — proves the answer is ‘no.’ The staggering amount of PAC money that bankrolls Erik Paulsen’s campaign speaks for itself. Erik Paulsen is bought and sold.”


Erik Paulsen has taken more than $2.6 million from PACs in this election cycle alone. That sum accounts for 51% of his total fundraising. Only 3% of Erik Paulsen’s campaign contributions came from individual small dollar donors. In the same period, Dean Phillips has taken $0 from PACs, instead raising over $4 million from 64,000 individual donors and counting.


Voters in Minnesota’s Third District have been inundated with negative television attack advertising. To date, GOP-aligned Super PACs and party committees have spent $7.4 million on false ads attacking Dean Phillips, compared to just $2.2 million from groups supporting Phillips. When combined with Paulsen’s own spending – almost all of it on negative ads that have been repeatedly debunked – spending on their coordinated smear campaign on TV alone now equals $10.4 million. Paulsen has also outsourced his voter engagement operation to the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity super PAC Action Fund, and has benefitted from hundreds of thousands of dollars in false and misleading mail.


Erik Paulsen’s super PAC friends are going nuclear on television and in mailboxes. And it’s no wonder — Paulsen has taken campaign contributions from highly partisan individuals, special-interest groups, and Trump loyalists, including Sheldon Adelson, Robert Mercer, Duncan Hunter, Halliburton, Exxon Mobil, the NRA, Oxycontin maker Purdue Pharma, Pfizer, Protect the House PAC, the Koch brothers, and other big pharma, insurance, oil, and bank interests.


In April, Phillips challenged Congressman Paulsen to join him in signing the Minnesota Way Pledge, a mutual pact that would eliminate special-interest money and self-funding in this race, and reduce or eliminate spending from outside groups on both sides. Paulsen has repeatedly refused to sign it, despite complaining about outside spending and falsely claiming to be outspent by outside groups.

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