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The Democratic National Committee Has Voted Down a Ban on Corporate PAC Donations
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=47775"><span class="small">Ella Nilsen, Vox</span></a>   
Saturday, 16 February 2019 13:38

Nilsen writes: "An internal fight is roiling the Democratic National Committee over whether to forgo corporate PAC money and make a big statement against money in politics as the 2020 presidential election starts to shift into high gear."

DNC Chair Tom Perez. (photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
DNC Chair Tom Perez. (photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)


The Democratic National Committee Has Voted Down a Ban on Corporate PAC Donations

By Ella Nilsen, Vox

16 February 19


The DNC isn’t ready to give up corporate PAC money.

n internal fight is roiling the Democratic National Committee over whether to forgo corporate PAC money and make a big statement against money in politics as the 2020 presidential election starts to shift into high gear.

A small group of committee members thinks the DNC needs to show it’s serious about banning corporate PAC donations, taking the same step as many presidential candidates who have pledged to forgo corporate PAC money. Others in the DNC want every tool possible to defeat President Trump.

The DNC said it would only take money from corporations in line with the organization’s values in 2016. But its Resolutions Committee that met in Washington, DC, this week stopped short of banning for-profit corporate PAC donations altogether. The committee instead chose to study the issue over the next 18 months.

Some complained that amounts to doing nothing.

“We haven’t quite come to grips as a party with the fact that people do not trust us. As much as we think that they should, they simply don’t,” said Christine Pelosi, chair of the California Democratic Party women’s caucus. Pelosi, who is the daughter of House speaker Nancy Pelosi, submitted the resolution to bring back the ban on corporate PAC money former President Barack Obama introduced as a candidate during the 2008 election.

Pelosi nodded to Democrats’ sweeping midterms win in 2018, which was carried by a number of candidates in Trump-friendly districts who ran their campaigns without corporate PAC money. A total of 52 Democratic House members are no longer taking corporate PAC contributions, including 35 new members who won in 2018.

The idea of getting money out of politics is extremely politically popular and transcends party lines, according to recent polling. As the DNC touts grassroots fundraising, Pelosi argued the organization needs to get serious about walking the walk before its first debates this summer.

“Y’all want to fight at the convention? You’re going to have one,” Pelosi said during the Resolutions Committee meeting. “We’re going to have a presidential debate, they’re going to ask what side we’re on. I just want us all to be ready. We’re going to need a very, very good PR strategy to explain why we made the decisions that we made.”

But other DNC members have been much more hesitant, up to the top ranks of the DNC.

“My No. 1 focus, frankly, is to get rid of Donald Trump,” said committee member Charlie King, the former executive director of the New York State Democratic Party. “Sometimes perfection is the enemy of the good.”

Money in politics is shaping up to be a big internal fight for Democrats

For all the controversy, the DNC only accepted $144,000 of corporate PAC money in 2018, out of $175 million in total fundraising. Pelosi and others in favor of a ban argued this small amount shows taking PAC money is more of a liability than it is a boon to national Democrats.

“The real question here [is] ... what are we saying to the people across this country, whose votes we need, not only to eliminate this president but to adopt an agenda for change?” said Larry Cohen, a DNC member and board member of the Bernie Sanders-affiliated group Our Revolution.

But those concerns were overridden by another, bigger fear from others on the committee: that banning corporate PAC money could open up the possibility of Democrats losing to Trump in 2020.

“I don’t want to take the chance that we lose,” King said. “I don’t want to see Donald Trump for another four years where communities of color lose another four years. I don’t want to get it wrong.”

The ban would only apply to the DNC, not state parties, individual candidates, or the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee or Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Pelosi told Vox she has been fighting DNC leadership for some time to instate a ban, and that she believes the issue has already been sufficiently studied by herself and others.

“As much as the leadership took the work I had done and said we already banned corporate PAC money, that is opposed in our platform — understand, that took me a year-and-a-half to do, and they fought me kicking and screaming every step along the way,” Pelosi said. “For them to announce it in their resolution today, to take credit for it — understand, it was not a change they wanted. It was a change that was very, very hard-fought.”

The DNC is talking about how money in politics is bad — while continuing to take it

Despite being the party that rails against corporate money influencing politics, the DNC is still taking it. For years, Democrats have positioned themselves as the morally superior to Republicans when it comes to money in politics. But the money is still flowing.

The DNC quietly did away with Obama’s corporate PAC donations ban in 2016, in the middle of a presidential primary where the corrupting influence of politics became a major campaign issue.

And corporate influence could be seen all over the 2016 DNC convention in Philadelphia; even flags on light posts featured logos of corporate sponsors. Corporations hosted numerous events and parties during the convention that politicians and their staff attended, getting facetime with lobbyists — per an account from former Vox reporter Jeff Stein.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders railed on the outsized role corporations and millionaires and billionaires had in America’s politics when running against Hillary Clinton.

The fact that more Democrats running for president and Congress have taken the no corporate PAC pledge is a sign the party is trending in Sanders’s direction on this issue. House Democrats also rolled out a sweeping anti-corruption bill called HR 1 as their first bill of the year.

Many in the party will argue Democrats should use every resource they can get to defeat Trump — even as many candidates themselves forgo corporate PAC money. But others are decrying it as hypocritical, asking the DNC to hold itself to a higher standard and think about the message it sends to voters.

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+21 # chapdrum 2019-02-16 15:10
Corporate PAC's should not exist. That they do is a major reason why we continue to sink lower and lower.
 
 
+4 # Robbee 2019-02-17 11:59
Quoting chapdrum 2019-02-16 15:10:
Corporate PAC's should not exist. That they do is a major reason why we continue to sink lower and lower.

- "The DNC is talking about how (corporate) money in politics is bad — while continuing to take it!"

this is where the rubber meets the road, isn't it?

35 new house reps got elected without corporate bucks? some in dickhead country?

our revolution believes that dems can elect a prez without corporate money? that the no-corporate bucks pledge is expandable to congress?

are there any accurate statistics? we read that nancy raised 1 billion dollars to elect a dem congress in 2018? how much of that is real? on whom did dnc spend it?

the flashy national convention that the dnc runs? that boost prez nominees in the polls? without corporate bucks? you know? that one? without corporate bucks? can dnc put on an attention-grabb ing show?

in 2018 bernie rained enough bucks from small donations to run an effective presidential campaign - can or export this campaign-fundin g strategy nationwide? effectively? taking the senate in 2020,? when the senate map sheds repukes?

is this election model expandable?

scotus promises us that dark, corporate money will oppress us for the rest of our lives!

public funding is no strategy for the timid! - go big or go home!
 
 
+17 # DongiC 2019-02-16 18:04
Small donations are the way to go. We need the commitments of tons of voters. Let's get the big money boys out of financing federal elections. We will then hold the higher ground in the political morality battle. Let the GOP be identified as the party of the rich and well-to-do.
 
 
+4 # Caliban 2019-02-17 00:32
Nancy Pelosi has taken the correct side in this debate. The Democrats need to get back to being the party of the average American. Banning the acceptance of corporate donations would be an excellent step in the right direction to achieve this goal.

The next step? Run Bernie Sanders for President in 2020.
 
 
+3 # tedrey 2019-02-17 08:07
"For all the controversy, the DNC only accepted $144,000 of corporate PAC money in 2018, out of $175 million in total fundraising."

But for that dribble of money, which will hardly pay for the Chairman's salary, the DNC will alienate millions of voters. Who's willing to risk throwing the election to Trump?
 
 
+2 # laborequalswealth 2019-02-17 09:48
As long as Demos field plutocracy sucking candidates they will continue to lose.
 
 
+3 # Wise woman 2019-02-17 13:00
"Let the GOP be the party of the rich and well-to-do." And white male!!! This is what the dems are not and need to continue to build on in 2020.

"When they go low, you go high." - Michele Obama. They above message needs to be shouted out. That should take care of trump. Forget going after him. Actions speak louder than words!! His wall will be his undoing.