debate night

Stevens and Levin trade barbs over AIPAC, PAC funding

Levin only turned down PAC money after ‘his hypocrisy was exposed,’ Stevens alleged

U.S. House of Representatives

Reps. Andy Levin (D-MI) and Haley Stevens (D-MI)

Reps. Haley Stevens (D-MI) and Andy Levin (D-MI) exchanged attacks over campaign funding and support from AIPAC and corporate PAC groups in their second primary debate on Tuesday night.

The two are set to square off in the Democratic primary in Michigan’s 11th Congressional District, after a redrawing of the state’s congressional map that eliminated one of the state’s 14 seats in Congress.

Stevens has been endorsed by and has taken more than $300,000 in donations bundled by AIPAC — which is supporting more than 100 Republicans who voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election results — as well as more than $150,000 from corporate PACs also funding Republicans who have denied the outcome of the 2020 election. 

Levin said during the debate that he had only taken a small amount of funding throughout his career from corporate PACs and “decided during this election to just do away with it altogether,” adding, “I’m also not funded by special-interest groups that are supporting insurrectionist Republicans.” He called on Stevens to do the same.

Stevens noted that AIPAC has endorsed several members of Democratic leadership, as well as dozens of members of the House Progressive Caucus, and that she had also been endorsed by the Jewish Democratic Council of America and several other pro-Israel groups.

Attacking AIPAC and its super PAC’s involvement in Democratic primaries, Levin said earlier this month he was “proud to not be funding my campaign through an organization supporting insurrectionist Republicans.” Jewish Insider found that Levin had taken $55,000 from corporate PACs and industry groups that also backed Republicans who opposed election certification. 

A day after that revelation, Levin announced he would give away those funds and reject future corporate and industry group PAC donations.

Stevens said Levin had “been taking corporate PAC money his entire career,” noting that the Michigan congressman had made his decision to return the funds “just last week.” She later added that Levin only made the switch after “his hypocrisy was exposed.”

Levin responded that his criticism “wasn’t [about] being endorsed, it was about getting all the special-interest money… from groups that support Republicans who voted against our democracy,” adding that he “didn’t know” about the money he had received from corporate PACs until it was brought to his campaign’s attention.

He added, “I’m going to speak Jewishly here, it’s not halachically acceptable, it’s not acceptable as a moral Jewish person to support people who are undermining our democracy.”