Clinton Just Dropped A Major Bombshell At Netroots In A Huge Win For Democracy! (VIDEO)
Perhaps Bernie Sanders really has influenced Hillary Clinton. She now says if she’s elected president, she plans to implement a constitutional amendment that would overturn the Citizens United decision during her first month in office.
Will Clinton put an end to Citizens United?
“The amendment would allow Americans to establish common sense rules to protect against the undue influence of billionaires and special interests and to restore the role of average voters in elections,” said a Clinton spokesman in a statement.
The landmark 2010 Citizens United v FEC decision sparked the onslaught of super PACS, and Clinton, feeling the heat from the Sanders campaign called for it to be overturned last fall. She also called for stricter rules regarding political spending disclosures.
And she’s looking ahead to potential appointments to the Supreme Court.
“I will also appoint Supreme Court justices who understand that this decision was a disaster for our democracy,” she noted in the video. “I will fight for other progressive reforms, including small-dollar matching and disclosure requirements. I hope some of the brilliant minds in this room will seek out cases to challenge Citizens United in the courts.”
In a statement following the announcement, Clinton indicated she plans to promote Securities and Exchange Commission “rule making requiring publicly traded companies to disclose all political spending to their shareholders.” She also pledged to sign an “executive order requiring federal government contractors to fully disclose all political spending.”
This isn’t the first time she’s mentioned these issues on the campaign trail, but this is a particularly striking note since it’s being brought out within the forum of NetRoots Nation. Clinton has only visited this conference once in the 11 years it’s been going on.
The Clinton campaign also ran the announcement past some progressive groups beforehand, and the groups put their stamp of approval on it.
“Hillary Clinton’s commitment to overturning Citizens United, and her other systemic proposals like public financing of congressional elections, are key to improving our chances of victory on every other issue,” noted Marissa Barrow, a spokeswoman for the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.
Campaign finance regulations have been slowly unraveling since the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court. Democrats have tried unsuccessfully on several occasions to pass disclosure measures. They have also tried to pass an amendment to the Constitution that would have reversed the decisions, but the Republicans, often led by Ted Cruz (R-Tex), kicked up a fuss, claiming the efforts were attacks on the First Amendment.
Sanders has been the biggest proponent of overturning Citizens United, rarely missing a chance to address the issue in his popular speeches, and noting the cash flow flooding politics. He also pledged to appoint a Supreme Court that would overturn it.
For her part, Clinton made several references to Sanders and said she hoped to work with him if she is elected.
“I know that many of the people in this room supported Sen. Sanders in the primary,” she said as the video showed footage of Sanders and his wife Jane. “I’m looking forward to hearing from you, learning from you, and working with you.”
Raven Brooks, NetRoots Nation Executive Director, told POLITICO that Clinton’s stand on campaign finance reform—an issue near and dear to Sanders and his supporters, is a big deal and it came as somewhat of a shock.
“I don’t think there really was any thought or expectation that she would be carrying this issue forward,” Brooks said. “She’s adopted some of his other stuff. Notably some of the college and student debt things, but I thought campaign finance was going to be left behind.”
It’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out, as Clinton is viewed by some as a corporate Democrat who is tied to Koch Industries through many of her donors, and as such she has allowed Koch Industries members to influence policy-making among Democrats for decades.
Many of these are executives and lobbyists who are involved with Koch Industries, and they have either raised fundraised for Clinton or donated to her campaign.
Heather Podesta is one such example. Her former brother-in-law is John Podesta—Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman. Heather Podesta once lobbied for Koch Industries and, as of February 2016 had raised at least $348,581.
Then there’s David W. Jones, a partner of Capitol Counsel. He currently serves on the Finance Committee of Hillary for America, and was also “a volunteer fundraiser for the 2008 presidential campaign of then-senator Hillary Clinton.” He has contributed $505,000 to the Clinton campaign for this election cycle.
It’s a cause for concern when a candidate who’s promising campaign finance reform is closely linked to Koch Industries and other such big-hitters. Hopefully Sanders has influenced Clinton enough so that she stays true to her word.
That would be a major bombshell indeed, and it’s a good thing to hope for.
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Photo courtesy of Ethan Miller/Getty Images