2020 elections

Tom Steyer tries to steady campaign after week of scandals

“I can promise you we will make sure this campaign is run with the highest standards of integrity — period," Steyer told reporters.

Tom Steyer

Tom Steyer on Friday shrugged off a rocky week for his presidential campaign that saw one staffer in South Carolina resign after improperly accessing another campaign’s data and another aide in Iowa face accusations of literally trying to buy endorsements.

Speaking to reporters at a campaign event in South Carolina, Steyer said his campaign is conducting a thorough investigation of the accusations leveled against the Iowa aide and promised transparency.

“We want to make sure we know what’s going on, but I’ve said we’re not going to do political business as usual, and we want to make sure we have our ducks in a row,” he said.

The Associated Press reported Thursday that a top Iowa aide had “privately offered campaign contributions to local politicians in exchange for endorsing [Steyer’s] White House bid,” offers that would not necessarily be illegal, but are not a great look for a politician campaigning on getting big money out of politics.

Steyer didn’t confirm that any such offers were made but said, “We’re going to make sure we understand exactly what happened, and we’ll deal with it as soon as possible.”

He added: “I can promise you we will make sure this campaign is run with the highest standards of integrity — period.”

He also sought to downplay an incident in which Steyer’s deputy state director in South Carolina attempted to export volunteer data collected by Sen. Kamala Harris’ campaign using an account from when the staffer worked for the state Democratic Party.

The party told the local Post and Courier newspaper that it sent a cease-and-desist letter to the staffer and the data had been destroyed. But Steyer said the staffer self-reported the incident and then “felt so bad that he resigned."

Steyer said no information from the data had been used by his campaign, and that the staffer resigned out of guilt and fear of tainting the campaign while it was in the midst of investigating the breach.

He also said he left a message for Harris telling the California senator he was “sorry it happened.”

“In this case, nothing bad happened,” he said, but added his campaign is still looking into the issue.

Steyer also continued to brush aside complaints that he has tried to buy his way into the White House. He poured nearly $50 million of his own money into his campaign to make the primary debate stage last month and has said he’s prepared to inject up to $100 million of his fortune into the campaign.

“I think the job of everyone in this campaign is to have something to say,” he told reporters. “And to have something differential, meaningful and important and be a trusted messenger — that is my job, that’s everybody else’s job, too. So, if their argument is that I’m putting everything I have into this ... if you look at the last decade of my life, when I’ve seen something important to do, I’ve spent all my time and supported it with money but also spent all my time and my, you know, with blood, sweat and tears that’s exactly what I’m doing with this campaign as well.”