Beto O'Rourke was on the campaign trail in New Hampshire this week, and during a town hall at a stop in Somersworth was confronted by an angry voter concerned about climate change and special interest money.
O'Rourke has made a major campaign issue of his promise not to accept money from PACs, lobbyists, or special interests. So it was a rather awkward moment when the voter shouted that in fact he has taken that money, and the candidate had to concede the fact.
"As you also know, I take no money from any lobbyist for any organization," O'Rourke was telling the crowd, when from out in the crowd a woman's voice shouted back.
"Two-hundred and fifty dollars from a Chevron lobbyist on March 29th," the voter yelled.
O'Rourke passed the microphone to her through the crowd, saying "so you don't have to shout."
When she had the mic, the voter continued. "Beto, I was really inspired to see that you said you would not take money from fossil fuel executives. But I looked it up and you did," she said. "You took the max contribution from eight different fossil fuel industry CEOs and executives, and a lobbyist from Chevron on March 29. And that just makes it hard for us to believe that you're going to keep your promises to address the climate crisis."
She asked whether O'Rourke "stands with the millions of people affected by the climate crisis" or not, and that if he does, would he prove it. "Will you prove it today by returning that dirty money," she asked, referring to the multiple donations she'd just mentioned.
When O'Rourke got the mic back, he admitted she was correct. The whole thing was caught on camera.
"So, you're right, I was just told as we drove in that we accepted on one of the last days of the FEC filing period a check from a lobbyist, we are returning that check from the lobbyist," he said. But not the rest of the donations.
After basking in the applause for returning the lobbyist's $250 bucks, O'Rourke declined the remainder of her challenge, including her appeal for him to sign a pledge disavowing all money from people in the fossil fuel industry.
"I'm not going to write off an entire industry and group of people," he said.