Sanders plan would end ‘greed-fueled, corrupt corporate influence over elections’

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a 2020 White House hopeful, released a plan on Monday to overhaul campaign contribution laws that includes a ban on donations from federal lobbyists and corporations and would replace the Federal Election Commission (FEC) with a new agency to enforce the reforms. 

Sanders’s plan echoes his own grassroots-funded campaign, in which he’s pledged to not accept money from corporate PACs or super PACs. 

His campaign said the plan would end “greed-fueled, corrupt corporate influence over elections, national party convention, and presidential inaugurations.”{mosads}

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

In his plan, Sanders calls for a ban on donations from federal lobbyists and corporations. 

Sanders’s plan also calls for a constitutional amendment that “makes clear that money is not speech and corporations are not people.” 

The amendment would aim to overturn two Supreme Court rulings that allow for unlimited spending in elections: Buckley V. Valeo and Citizens United.

He would also institute a lifetime lobbying ban for national party chairs and co-chairs, and ban the chairs and co-chairs from working for entities with federal contracts or that can “reasonably be expected to have business before Congress in the future.” 

To enforce the laws, Sanders said he would “abolish the worthless FEC” and replace it with a Federal Election Administration (FEA).  

The new FEA would have three members with a background in law or ethics enforcement, including former judges. Members would serve six years and the chair would serve 10 years to avoid one chair picking all members, according to Sanders campaign. 

Hearings for violations of campaign finance laws would be conducted before an administrative judge and the FEA would be able to impose civil and criminal penalties for violations. 

Sanders also pushes for mandatory public financing laws for federal elections, including a system of “Universal Small Dollar Vouchers” that give voting-age Americans the ability to “donate” to federal candidates. The plan does not say how much money would be given in the vouchers. 

He also said FEA would determine the threshold candidates must meet to qualify for public financing. 

His plan also calls for a ban on advertising during presidential primary debates. 

Sanders said he’d also institute a lifetime lobbying ban for former members of Congress and senior staffers. 

The plan is the first big campaign announcement since Sanders suffered a heart attack in Las Vegas last week. 

Sanders said Sunday he is home in Burlington, Vt. to “rest for a little bit” but is “recovering well and feeling much better.” 

Sanders, 78, is a top-tier candidate in the Democratic primary field. 

His heart attack prompted the campaign to cancel all events until further notice and postpone a $1.3 million TV ad set to air in Iowa.

Tags Bernie Sanders Citizens United v. FEC Donald Trump Federal Election Commission

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