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Is Incumbent Democrat Rep. Josh Harder Deceiving Voters by Taking Corporate Campaign Contributions?

Harder violating campaign promise to ‘refuse Corporate PAC donations’

By Katy Grimes, July 29, 2019 12:15 pm

When Democratic Rep. Josh Harder ran for Congress against incumbent Republican Jeff Denham (Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties) in 2018, Harder’s campaign centered on Denham accepting corporate donations. Harder said he would fight corporate donors.

“Corporate greed and Super PACs are corrupting our political system and nowhere is that more obvious than in our electoral process. Jeff Denham has been bought and sold by corporations and the Republican party, taking more than 70% of his contributions from special interests,” Harder’s campaign 2018 website in the race against Jeff Denham said. “That is why I have taken a pledge to refuse Corporate PAC donations.”

However, recent Federal Elections Commission campaign filings show Harder has changed his tune, less than one year from his win. Some of Harder’s recent corporate contributors include Goldman Sachs, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and a host of capital management companies as some of the biggest contributors. The FEC reports Harder’s campaign contributions as of June 30, 2019 total $1,648,733.03.

Harder’s 2018 campaign website specified he would:

  • Support an amendment that says corporations are NOT people. Corporations aren’t born, they can’t vote, and they shouldn’t be able to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence our elections. We need to take their power away and to do that we need to amend the constitution.
  • Advocate for an individual’s right to vote and reinstitute the Voting Rights Amendment that was recently rolled back by the Supreme Court.
  • Fight against gerrymandering nationwide. Representatives are chosen by the people, not the other way around. I will advocate for fair practices in drawing districts that keep like communities together instead of building districts which protect those in power.

Harder has a challenger for the 2020 election, and this challenger isn’t pulling his punches. Ted Howze launched a campaign website recently attacking Harder. The website is called JoshHarderPACMAN.com.

Howze claims Harder has violated his campaign promise of not taking money from political action committees.


FOX40 reported last week they reached out to Harder’s campaign for a response to the website. A Harder campaign spokesperson sent the following:

“Josh has never taken a penny of corporate PAC money and never will. Period. Ted either doesn’t know what he’s talking about or is trying to mislead people. While Josh was busy focusing on creating jobs, growing our water supply, and protecting our health care, Ted was busy wasting money to peddle a lie. It’s also interesting that Ted wants to bring up funding sources because he has spent $600,000 of his own money trying to buy this Congressional seat. Give me a break.”


Even as Harder was posting Tweets denying he accepted corporate contributions, his campaign’s FEC report shows he was accepting corporate contributions.

Screen capture Harder FEC filing 2019

Howze says Harder has accepted approximately $314,000 in Political Action Committee contributions so far in 2019. PAC donors to Harder include PAC to the Future and Jersey Values PAC which include Goldman Sachs, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Gamut Capital Management, Prudential Financial, UBS Americas, among many others. Alphabet Inc also contributed $15,000.

The Jersey Values PAC lists contributions from individual donors of $200 or more HERE.

The PAC to the Future contributions from individual donors of $200 or more HERE.



While it is standard for “Party Bosses” and political leaders to contribute,Harder says he will work for families, not “Party Bosses.”  House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a contributor to the Harder campaign, as is the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Ironically, even “End Citizens United” supports Josh Harder. Citizens United v. FEC was a 2010 Supreme Court case that ruled that political spending by corporations, associations, and labor unions is a form of protected speech under the First Amendment. Harder’s contributions show “End Citizens United” contributions in the same report with many PAC contributions’ of corporate contributors (below).


Screen capture FEC harder contributions

Here are the FEC filings for Rep. Josh Harder: Harder DC PAC_PartyBossMoney_FECQ1Q2 report

California Globe called and emailed the Harder for Congress campaign to discuss the his campaign and contributions, but did not receive a return call or email by publication time. Should we hear from the campaign, we will update the article.

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