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DNC Rejects Ban on Corporate PAC Money, Delaying Decision Until 2020

"We will keep up the fight to put people over PACs, to make the Democratic Party more democratic."

Thirty-five new Democratic members of Congress pledged not to accept corporate PAC money, but the Democratic National Committee refused to ban such donations this week. (Photo: Getty)

After rejecting a proposal to reinstate a full ban on corporate PAC donations earlier this week, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) decided on Saturday that the party's Platform Committee would review a possible ban in 2020.

At the DNC's winter meeting, the DNC failed to pass the anti-corporate PAC resolution proposed by Christine Pelosi, chair of the California Democratic Party women’s caucus and daughter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif). But Pelosi applauded the committee's rejection of a resolution to "study" the effects of corporate PAC donations, instead directing the DNC's Platform Committee to vote on whether the contributions will be allowed in 2020.

Melissa Byrne, a former organizer on Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I-Vt.) 2016 presidential campaign, tweeted that the resolution should be a "no-brainer" for the committee to pass in 2020.

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Pelosi has led the charge in recent months to demand that the DNC stops accepting corporate PAC money in the interest of running "people-powered" campaigns.

"We're going to have a presidential debate, they're going to ask what side we're on," Pelosi told Vox.com after her resolution to ban corporate PAC money failed. "I just want us all to be ready."

"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?" —Larry Cohen, Our RevolutionThe DNC declined to pass the ban despite the fact that candidates who reject corporate donations have proven popular in recent years. More than 50 House Democrats now refuse corporate PAC money, including 35 new members who were elected in November. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) are among the Democratic presidential candidates who have pledged not to take corporate PAC money. 

Former President Barack Obama introduced a ban on corporate PAC money in 2008, but the DNC reversed it in 2016. Despite the fact that reinstating the ban is clearly a winning issue with voters, some Democrats still claim that refusing corporate donations will harm the Party's chance of defeating President Donald Trump in 2020. 

"My number one focus, frankly, is to get rid of Donald Trump," Charlie King, a DNC member and former executive director of the New York State Democratic Party, told Vox.com—indicating that offering voters broadly popular ideas is far less important to some members than simply defeating Trump and returning to the corporate-friendly status quo that existed before he was elected.

Larry Cohen, a member who supported Pelosi's resolution and who serves on the board of Our Revolution, strongly disagreed.

"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?" Cohen said.

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