Our grassroots-funded campaign is proving every single day that you don't need billionaires and private fundraisers to run for president.
In 2016, seventeen donors gave three-quarters of the Democratic National Convention funding, with large corporations like Bank of America, Peco Energy, Comcast, and Facebook each donating over $1 million. Their lobbyists were everywhere and filled the VIP suites. This type of corporate sponsorship is a corrupting influence and must end if politicians are going to represent the American people.
Corporate donors spend tremendous amounts of money on inaugural events. In 2016, Trump’s inaugural donors included AT&T, Bank of America, Boeing, Exxon Mobil, General Motors, Coca Cola, Pepsi and many more. Private Prisons also shelled out hundreds of thousands of dollars for Trump’s inauguration. And this is nothing new, Corporate donors to the 2013 inauguration included Microsoft, Boeing, Chevron, Genetech, and numerous federal contractors. Many of these corporations have federal contracts and business that comes before Congress. It is absolutely absurd that these entities are allowed to spend enormous sums of money in an attempt to garner favor with the President and Vice President of the United States.
Over the years, the Supreme Court has made numerous decisions that increase the influence of money in politics. We must overturn these disastrous decisions and ensure that Supreme Court Justices are held to a high standard of honorable conduct in the future.
In 2016, the fundraising committee for the DNC was led by an insurance executive and a Comcast executive. Currently, some Committee Chairs work as CEOs and Board Members for large health care lobbying groups, and companies such as Comcast. Under my administration, the DNC will no longer accept corporate money.
In addition to fixing how the National Parties raise money, we need to stop the influence corporations have on individual candidates running for office. The FEC no longer acts like enforcement agency, and needs to be replaced to effectively regulate campaign finance. And to address the outsized influence large corporate donors have on candidates, America must move to publicly fund federal elections in order to ensure a fair playing field free of the corrupting influence of large donors.
Private media outlets charge outrageous sums of money to run ads during presidential primary debates. This year CNN reportedly required a commitment of $300,000 before a sponsor could buy ad time during the presidential debates, and 30 seconds of air time can cost around $110,000. Private media outlets are making enormous sums of money during events that are meant to inform the public about their candidates. Furthermore, many of their advertisers have vested interest in who is elected. This type of influence must end.
The influence lobbyists have extends beyond contributions to National Political Parties and individual candidates. In Congress there is a revolving door that allows Congressional staff to move between lobbying firms and Capitol Hill. Congress cannot represent their constituents while special interest groups have the ability to influence decisions with corner offices and lucrative job offers.
Bernie is counting on all of us to continue fighting for our progressive agenda. There is only one way we will transform this country – and that is together.
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