By Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire Contributor
California Democratic Senator Kamala Harris announced on April 23 that she will reject corporate money from political action committees (PAC).
Sen. Harris’ announcement was made on the popular New York radio show, “The Breakfast Club.”
Harris joined Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.), who have also publicly announced that they would not accept corporate PAC money.
The Citizens United decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010 created a situation where seemingly endless amounts of money can flow into the political system.
“I think that money has had such an outsized influence on politics,” Sen. Harris said on The Breakfast Club. “We’re all supposed to have an equal vote, but money has now really tipped the balance between an individual having equal power in an election to a corporation. So, I’ve actually made a decision since I had that conversation that I’m not going to accept corporate PAC checks.”
Harris, who has been thought of as a possible presidential candidate in 2020 ,but has not said she is running, said that a recent exchange at a town hall influenced her decision not to take corporate PAC checks.
“I was asked that question and I wasn’t expecting the question. And I thought about it afterwards. I think that money has had such an outside influence on politics, and especially with the Supreme Court determining Citizens United, which basically means that big corporations can spend unlimited amounts of money influencing our campaigns, right? We’re all supposed to have an equal vote, but money has now really tipped the balance between an individual having equal power in an election to a corporation. So, I’ve actually made a decision, since I had that conversation, that I’m not going to accept corporate PAC checks. I just…I’m not,” the California Senator said.
“Now Kamala Harris has pledged not to take corporate PAC money. Let me be clear about who did this—@justicedems. When that group started, Washington laughed & said almost no one would take that pledge. Now almost all of the Dem front-runners have!” Tweeted a gleeful Cenk Uygur of “The Young Turks,” an online news show, after the news of Harris’ decision emerged.
Many remarked that public pressure has worked regarding the issue of taking PAC money. Sen. Bernie Sanders made corporate influence on politics a centerpiece of his 2016 campaign for the White House. He raised record amounts of small campaign donations.