Hill Harper Says He Was Offered $20M To Run Against Palestinian American Rep. Rashida Tlaib

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Hill Harper, a Democratic candidate for US Senate in Michigan, said a donor offered him $20 million if he agreed to end his Senate bid and challenge Rep. Rashida Tlaib in a primary election.

Tlaib is the only Palestinian American serving as a member of Congress and represents Michigan’s 12th Congressional District. In 2008, she became the first Muslim woman to serve in the Michigan legislature. Earlier this month, the House passed a GOP-led resolution to censure Tlaib for her criticism of Israel’s military operations against Palestinians.

The actor-turned-politician posted on social media platform X that he refused the donor’s offer. “I won’t be bullied, bought, or bossed,” he wrote about raising campaign funds. 

Harper did not name the donor in his post. However, his campaign spokesperson, Karthik Ganapathy, identified Michigan businessman Linden Nelson as the person who offered the lump sum in an interview with CNN Politics.

According to Politico, which first reported the news, Nelson has also donated to a group seeking Tlaib’s resignation and has a history of involvement with the pro-Israel lobbying organization, American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Ganapathy said that Harper received Nelson’s call on October 16, which included an offer to bundle $10 million in contributions and provide another $10 million through independent expenditures on his behalf.

Under federal law, candidates are limited in how much they can receive from individuals. CNN reports that it is illegal for wealthy donors and the candidates they support to coordinate financing for independent groups that can spend unlimited amounts on a candidate’s behalf, according to Saurav Ghosh, a former Federal Election Commission enforcement lawyer who works for watchdog group Campaign Legal Center.

Harper, known for his roles on “The Good Doctor” and “CSI: NY,” faces tough competition as a first-time candidate in his bid for an open Senate seat next year. Another Democratic candidate, Elissa Slotkin, has raised more money than Harper and all the others combined.

The actor-turned-politician will not return to his role on “The Good Doctor” for its seventh season.

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