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Senate Majority PAC Bars Lobbyists From Its Payroll

Menendez's indictment could have sparked changes to a super PAC's code of conduct. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC that supports Democratic Senate candidates, will prohibit federally registered lobbyists from working for the organization, according to a memo obtained by CQ Roll Call.  

Senate Majority PAC says the change is to make the super PAC a leader in campaign finance ethics. But it comes in the wake of the dismissal of a former staffer who was mentioned prominently in Sen. Robert Menendez’s corruption indictment .  

“Like the rest of the Democratic community, we continue to support comprehensive campaign finance reform, but until that happens, Senate Majority PAC is here to keep Democrats competitive with Republicans’ unlimited spending. If not, our voices would be drowned out and we would get clobbered electorally. So, we fight with the tools legally available to both sides,” Senate Majority PAC Executive Board Members Rebecca Lambe, Susan McCue and JB Poersch said in a memo to the organization’s staff obtained by CQ Roll Call. “However, while we must operate under the current campaign finance landscape, we have also become ever more convinced of the need for super PACs to go above and beyond existing law to operate in full transparency.”  

In addition to banning lobbyists from working on its staff, Senate Majority PAC staffers must now have their contact with congressional offices relating to the super PAC’s activities pre-approved by the group’s executive director or board members.  

All Senate Majority PAC staff and consultants will also go through legal compliance training with the law firm Perkins Coie. And any contract staffers will also be required to adhere to “expanded ethics and transparency provisions to ensure that Senate Majority PAC’s team is setting the standard for running a clean super PAC operation.”  

The full code of conduct will be posted on the group’s website, according to the memo.  

The memo asserts the super PAC has “always operated fully within the letter and spirit of the law."  

But a former staffer at the organization was caught up in the Menendez indictment earlier this year, in which the New Jersey senator was charged with doing favors for a donor, Salomon Melgen, in exchange for gifts and campaign contributions.  

The staffer, identified in the indictment as “Fundraiser 2," was described as a Senate Majority PAC fundraiser who had worked for Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.  

Fundraiser 2 allegedly took two $300,000 contributions to Senate Majority PAC from Melgen’s company in 2012 and earmarked them to be spent on Menendez’s re-election that year.  

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