Corporate and Out-of-State Campaign Contributions
Tulsi Gabbard has run for Congress four times. Per her FEC reports, her contributions have totaled:
Per Open Secrets, Tulsi Gabbard raised quite a bit of PAC money during her career, with more than $465,000 raised in the 2016 election cycle alone. Of that figure, business PACS made up the majority of her PAC contributions -- at over 55 percent. One of the largest contributing sectors was the defense industry.
Some of Gabbard's top career contributors include the National Auto Dealers Association, Lockheed Martin, Alexander & Baldwin, and Matson. (In 2015, the Maui press wondered why Gabbard voted in support of HR 1737, which would allow banks and car dealerships to discriminate against customers of color, and which was supported by the auto dealers.)
In May 2017, Gabbard announced her rejection of PAC money, stating:
"I promised myself I'd never allow money to influence the decisions I make on behalf of the people who elected me to serve them."
She neglected, however, to mention that she had received $1.3 million in Political Action Committee donations in the five years up to that point.
Whether from individuals or PACs, per Open Secrets, the majority of Gabbard's contributions are raised from outside of Hawaii, with the percentage of out-of-state contributions increasing with every election cycle:
2014: 69.9% out of state
2016: 73.25% out of state
2018: 80% out of state
Campaign and Other Contributions from Supporters of Extremist Causes
A number of Gabbard campaign contributors are associated with extremist groups.
Between March and August 2017, Gabbard received several donations totaling $1,450 from Kamal Obeid, the 2016 President of the Association for Investment in Popular Action Committees.
In April 2018, Dennis Kucinich reported that he received $20,000 in speaking fees from the same pro-Assad organization. (Click on article) On April 28, 2018 Kucinich announced that he would be returning the speaking fee.
Another article about Kucinich's Pro-Assad ties noted that brothers Elias and Bassam Khawam donated a total of $8,000 to him between 2012 and 2016. The brothers escorted Kucinich and Gabbard on their trip to visit Assad and their organization, AACCESS-Ohio paid for the trip. Gabbard ultimately promised to reimburse ACCESS-Ohio personally, though she never provided evidence of that reimbursement.
Gabbard also received donations from the following members of the board of trustees of the Friends of Syrian American Forum (SAF): Chairman Nasser Ani, Treasurer Dr. Eyad Slalom, and trustee Yazan Khatib. Together, they contributed $6,550 to Gabbard's campaign starting in December 2015. (2015-2016 donations are shown below. Link here for 2017-2018 FEC report.)
Yazan Khatib donated the most, for a total of $2,800 between December 2015 and December 2018. The timing of many of Gabbard's pro-Assad donations can be linked to her actions regarding Syria and Assad.
At the SAF website, under SAF in Action, NY/NJ chapter president Dr. Ghias Moussa states:
"Representative Gabbard challenges the prevailing misrepresentation of the situation in Syria. We met the Congresswoman and explained our views regarding the conflict. We were very impressed with her understanding of the realities, especially when coupled with her experience serving in the region as an officer of the American military”.
Another pro-Assad donor to Gabbard's campaign is Ibrahim Ahmad, who donated $2,700 to her in December 2015 for her Primary election and another $2,700 for the General, the maximum allowable for a single election. He is on the Board of the Syrian American Will Association (SAWA), a group that supports the Syrian government.
Paul Jallo, who is also a member of SAWA, also donated a total of $5,400 to Gabbard in December 2015. In May 2016, he spent $10,000 to sponsor Virginia State Senator Richard H. Black's visit with Bashar al-Assad. These SAWA donations and many of the SAF donations were given in December 2015, three months prior to Gabbard's vote against condemning Assad's government for war crimes.
Gabbard has also received campaign contributions in excess of $500K from US Citizens who are officers in US Hindu Nationalist organizations that directly support Hindu Nationalist organizations in India, as described in a recent Intercept article.
Prominent members of the Modi government attended Gabbard's wedding in 2015 and brought gifts.
In February 2018, Gabbard received a Financial Disclosure/Gift Disclosure waiver from the US House of Representatives Committee on Ethics regarding gift disclosures from her wedding that took place three years previously.
In her first election to the US House of Representatives, Gabbard received a significant amount of financial support from members of a clannish quasi-religious group - the same people that contributed previously to her father, Mike Gabbard, an anti-gay activist who ran for Congress.