"Being people-funded frees me to support policies that put people FIRST, and speak openly about closing lobbyist loopholes," Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) declared Tuesday, responding to a new analysis showing that she had the highest portion of small campaign contributions of any member of 116th U.S. House.
Fun Fact: Our campaign has the highest rate small-donor funding of ANY House member in Congress!
Being people-funded frees me to support policies that put people FIRST, and speak openly about closing lobbyist loopholes.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) December 18, 2018
According to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, nearly 62 percent of Ocasio-Cortez's $2 million haul came from individual contributions that totaled less than $200. Many donors to her campaign hailed from the Bronx and Queens, two New York City boroughs she will represent in Congress beginning in January.
— OpenSecrets.org (@OpenSecretsDC) December 18, 2018
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Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest congresswoman ever elected, has been making national headlines since even before her stunning primary defeat of long-time Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley in June. A champion of Medicare for All and a Green New Deal, she has publicly challenged the leaders of the Democratic Party—including presumptive House Speaker Nancy Pelosi—to embrace bold and increasingly popular progressive policies.
Her advocacy for more ambitious and leftist measures—as she and other political commentators noted Tuesday—is enabled in part by her refusal to cozy up to big business or accept any corporate PAC money. As a "people-funded" incoming congresswoman, she'll also have more time to focus on actual policymaking, as The Intercept's Ryan Grim pointed out on Twitter:
Morning: breakfast PAC fundraiser
Mid-morning: Call time (dialing rich people for $)
Mid-day: Office check in, lobbyist meetings
Afternoon: Call time, meetings with lobbyists
Evening: PAC fundraiser
In between are votes and hearings. The former you go to, the latter you skip.
— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) December 18, 2018
And she'll need that time if she wants to continue successfully taking on—in the words of The Week's Ryan Cooper—her party's "corrupt and mealy-mouthed" more "moderate" faction.