“You can’t take on a corrupt system if you take its money”: Bernie Sanders announces plan to get money out of politics

"Our grassroots-funded campaign is proving every single day that you don't need billionaires and private fundraisers to run for president."

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Bernie Sanders is taking his commitment to ending corporate influence in politics to the next level. Although Sanders himself already doesn’t accept corporate “dark money” as part of his campaign, the Democratic presidential candidate revealed his new plan this week that will get corporate money out of all politics and elections.

“Our grassroots-funded campaign is proving every single day that you don’t need billionaires and private fundraisers to run for president,” reads the introduction to the plan, posted on Sanders’ campaign website. Sanders raised more money than all of his Democratic competitors last quarter with an average donation of just $18. The campaign received donations from one million different people.

“Working people all over the country are responding to that message and demanding a political revolution through their small-dollar donations,” said Sanders. “When we win the Democratic nomination and defeat Donald Trump, we will transform our political system by rejecting the influence of big corporate money.”

Arguing that “corporate sponsorship is a corrupting influence and must end if politicians are going to represent the American people,” Bernie promises, as president to:

  • Ban corporate contributions to the Democratic Party Convention and all related committees.
  • Update and strengthen the Federal Election Campaign Act to return to a system of mandatory public funding for National Party Conventions.

The plan also calls for ending corruption for presidential inaugurations. Corporations that have federal contracts and are interested in business with Congress have historically donated massive amounts of money to pay for inaugural events. Sanders promises as president he will “ban all corporate donations for inaugural events and cap individual donations to $500.”

Perhaps the biggest issue Sanders’ plan tackles are public election reform. Sanders’ plan states that the Supreme court has allowed for the increase o influence of money in politics with decisions that he plans to overturn. The plan also cites conflicts of interest that are allowed in the DNC, such as CEOs and board members of major companies being allowed on the fundraising committee. Bernie’s plan states that should he become president, the DNC will no longer accept corporate money. The plan also calls for:

  • Passing a Constitutional Amendment that makes clear that money is not speech and corporations are not people.
  • Overturning the Supreme Court ruling that says money is speech: Buckley v. Valeo.
  • Passing legislation to end super PACs, political spending by 501c4s and other organizations who accept unlimited contributions or do not disclose donors.
  • Overturning Citizens United, which allows corporations to spend unlimited money on elections.
  • Abolishing the worthless FEC and replace it with the Federal Election Administration, a true law enforcement agency originally proposed by former Senators John McCain and Russ Feingold.
  • Ending the influence of corporations at the DNC by banning donations from federal lobbyists and corporations, instituting a lifetime lobbying ban for National Party Chairs and Co-Chairs, banning Chairs and Co-Chairs from working for entities with a conflict of interest.
  • Passing mandatory public financing laws for all federal elections.

Sanders believes that by implementing these measures, the focus will shift away from “the outsized influence large corporate donors have on candidates,” and back to individuals, specifically the working class.

Finally, Sanders promises to ban advertising during presidential primary debates and instituting a lifetime lobbying ban for former members of Congress and senior staffers.

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