PolitiFact: Did Russ Feingold keep his promise?

Posted at 6:42 PM, Sep 08, 2016

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Candidates make a lot of campaign promises, but do they ever come with a expiration date? PolitiFact looks at a promise Russ Feingold made 24 years ago, and puts it through the Truth-O-Meter.

In 1992, Russ Feingold emerged from the Democratic primary by beating two well-financed opponents. At the time Feingold, a state senator made a promise during debate on WHA-TV that a majority of his campaign donations would come from in-state contributions.

"I'm saying that's a pledge I am going to keep. I'm not going to get in there and say, 'Ok where are the PACs, where are the out-of-state contributions,'" said Feingold. "I'm making a pledge for the future." 

Fast forward to 2016: Republican Ron Johnson jumped on Feingold's "pledge for the future." He's now running a digital campaign ad suggesting Feingold broke his promise.

"The pledge that Russ Feingold took in his original campaign was to take a majority of his campaign from in state residents," said Greg Borowski at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "It wasn't that he would take none."

PolitIFact at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found that Feingold kept that promise when he ran in 1998, 2004 and in 2010 when he lost to Johnson.

But during this election cycle rematch with Johnson, PolitiFact found that 70 percent of individual contributions to Feingold's campaign are from out of state.

Now this re-election bid, the rematch from 2010, the tables have flipped and that money is coming in from out of state, very heavily, which is why we rated the statement from Ron Johnson - TRUE.

Earlier this year during a campaign stop at Marquette University, Feingold said the pledge he made in 1992 was for that term.