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Tester Ad: Dem Senator 'Cracked Down on Lobbyists'

But the Montana Democrat receives big bucks from K Street.

5:02 PM, May 7, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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A new ad from Montana senator Jon Tester's reelection campaign features supporters touting his record on ethics. Among the testimonials is one from former congressman Pat Williams. "He's cracked down on lobbyists, refused their trips" Williams says. Watch the ad below:

Tester won election in 2006 partly on the promise he would clean up the K Street lobbyist culture that consumed his Republican opponent, Conrad Burns. But according to a Washington Free Beacon report last month, Tester is the Senate's number one recipient of campaign funds from lobbyists. From the Beacon:

Sen. Jon Tester (D., Mont.) received nearly $300,000 from lobbyists in 2012, making him the top recipient of K Street dollars, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Tester has denied the fact on multiple occasions, saying it is “not true.”

But a Washington Free Beacon review of campaign contributions reveals that Tester leads all Senators in lobbying cash. He is also flush in contributions from Wall Street firms and big banks, ranking second in the Senate for commercial bank donations, third for credit card companies, and tenth for investment banks.

Tester has received nearly $875,000 from the banking and real estate industries in 2012, despite his promise to “end the era of ‘too big to fail’ once and for all.” The influx in donations came after he led a failed fight against regulations that would have stopped banks from charging retailers exorbitant fees for debit card transactions—fees that drive up costs for consumers.

In June, Tester fell six votes short of blocking the Durbin Amendment, which would have capped the fees at 12 cents, down from the industry average of 44 cents—a practice that netted $17 billion for banks in 2009.

This latest ad represents an early push from the Tester campaign against what may be a major line of attack from Republicans.

What may be more problematic for Tester, however, is his vote in favor of President Obama's health care law. Last week's Rasmussen poll, which showed Republican challenger Denny Rehberg leading Tester 53 percent to 43 percent, also indicated how unpopular the Obamacare law is in Montana:

Tester voted for the national health care law passed in 2009, and 59% of Likely Voters in his home state would like to see the law overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. Thirty-three percent (33%) hope the high court upholds the law’s legality. Sixty-one percent (61%) in the Treasure State predict the law will be overturned.

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