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Steyer aide at center of Iowa pay for endorsement controversy resigns

A top aide to billionaire Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer, who allegedly offered to pay Iowa politicians to endorse Steyer, has resigned, the campaign announced on Friday.

Steyer campaign manager Heather Hargreaves issued a statement addressing the resignation of the campaign’s Iowa political director, Pat Murphy.

“After the conclusion of an investigation alleging improper communications with elected officials in Iowa, Pat Murphy has offered his resignation from the campaign effective immediately,” Hargreaves said in the statement. “Our campaign policy is clear that we will not engage in this kind of activity, or any kind of communication that could be perceived as improper. Violation of this policy is not tolerated.”

Hargreaves added, “The endorsements Tom receives are the sole result of his consistent efforts engaging communities, meeting them where they are, and earning their trust and respect with his unifying messages. The campaign will continue to seek them in Iowa and other parts of the country.”

Murphy, a former speaker of the Iowa House, apologized on Thursday “for any miscommunication on my part” surrounding the allegations in a statement provided by the Steyer campaign to CNN.

“As a former legislator, I know how tricky the endorsement process can be for folks in Iowa,” Murphy said in the statement. “It was never my intention to make my former colleagues uncomfortable, and I apologize for any miscommunication on my part.”

The campaign said the billionaire Democratic candidate had not, and would not, make any individual contributions to political candidates in Iowa this year.

“The endorsements he receives are earned because of Tom’s campaign message, his decade-long work taking on big corporations who put profits over people, and his work registering and organizing voters across the country to support progressive causes,” the campaign said in a statement provided to CNN.

Murphy’s departure makes two Steyer staffers who have resigned from the campaign this week. Dwane Sims, the campaign’s deputy South Carolina state director, resigned late Monday after accessing volunteer data from Kamala Harris’ presidential campaign.

CNN