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HomeSportDemocrat Confirms Donor Offered Him $20M to Challenge Rashida Tlaib

A Democratic U.S. Senate candidate said he turned down $20 million offered by a pro-Israel political action committee to run against Representative Rashida Tlaib, saying he can’t be “bought.”

Earlier this month, Tlaib sparked controversy over her comments on the Israel-Hamas war, prompting the House of Representatives to censure the Michigan Democrat and the only Palestinian American in Congress on a vote of 234 to 188. Tlaib came under fire after defending the slogan “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and urged lawmakers to join her in calls for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Harper, an actor recognizable for his roles on CBSCSI: NY and the ABC drama The Good Doctor, confirmed in a Wednesday post on X, formerly Twitter, that one of the “biggest donors” for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) had offered him $20 million to challenge Tlaib. Harper, while sharing a Politico article on the subject, said he declined the offer from the pro-Israel political action committee donor.

“I didn’t intend for a private phone call to turn public,” the senate candidate said in the post. But now that it has, here’s the truth. One of AIPAC’s biggest donors offered $20m if I dropped out of the U.S. Senate race to run against @RashidaTlaib. I said no. I won’t be bossed, bullied, or bought.”

Newsweek reached out via email and social media on Wednesday to representatives for Harper, Tlaib and AIPAC for comment.

Linden Nelson, a Michigan businessman, made the campaign funding offer to Harper in October, Karthik Ganapathy, a spokesman for Harper’s campaign, told The New York Times.

Democrat Offered $20M to Challenge Tlaib
Rep. Rashida Tlaib on September 19, 2023, in Washington, D.C. Hill Harper on November 21, 2023, in River Rouge, Michigan. Harper said he was offered $20 million from a donor to run against Tlaib.
Anna Moneymaker, Aaron J. Thornton/Getty

In a subsequent post, Harper expounded upon the issue, saying he is running for the Senate to “break the stranglehold” wealthy lobby groups have on U.S. politicians, including the “the Israel lobby.”

“I’m not going to run against the only Palestinian-American in Congress just because some special interests don’t like her,” Harper said on X.

While Tlaib said she condemns Hamas’ attacks on Israeli citizens, she has in the past called the war a “genocide” of Palestinians.

On October 7, Hamas launched a surprise attack on southern Israel, prompting the Middle Eastern nation to subsequently declare war on Hamas, carrying out extensive airstrikes and a ground offensive in Gaza while also cutting off supplies of water, food and electricity.

On Tuesday, the Israeli government agreed to a ceasefire after approving a deal with Hamas that calls for the release of hostages being held by the Palestinian group in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli officials estimate that Hamas and allied Palestinian factions took more than 240 captives of various nationalities amid an October assault, in which Israeli authorities say about 1,200 people were killed in Israel.

As of Tuesday, more than 12,700 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, the Associated Press reported, citing the Palestinian Health Ministry. Officials there say roughly 4,000 people are missing.