Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, addresses an audience on the campus of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill during a campaign rally on September 19, 2019. (Photo: Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)

'Good!' Says Sanders as Lobbyists Lash Out at Proposal to End Corporate Domination of US Politics

"We welcome their hatred," said Sanders adviser Warren Gunnels

Jake Johnson, staff writer

Sen. Bernie Sanders's 2020 presidential campaign late Monday enthusiastically welcomed lobbyist backlash over the senator's new proposal to dramatically curb the power of corporate money in politics and bar the Democratic National Committee from taking cash from big business.

"Good!" Sanders tweeted in response to a story in The Hill that quoted several lobbyists opposed to the senator's plan, which would ban corporate donations to the Democratic Party Convention in Milwaukee if Sanders becomes the presidential nominee. As Politico reported last month, Democratic operatives have already begun seeking lobbyist help with financing the event.

"Bernie Sanders is building an unprecedented grassroots campaign to end corruption and as a nominee would host a grassroots conventions for delegates, party members, teachers, workers, nurses, farmers, and students."
—Josh Orton, Sanders national policy director

Stewart Verdery, CEO of public affairs firm Monument Advocacy, warned that "telling companies who would like to partner with the party to take their ball and go home will easily feed into an anti-capitalist motif."

"On the substance side, hosting a convention is a major endeavor that can strap the budgets of parties and cities—the money has to come from somewhere and cutting off corporate donations may further depress interest in hosting a convention," said Verdery. "On the image side, the Democrats always have to balance their populist rhetoric with quieter outreach to the business community."

The Hill also granted anonymity to a Democratic lobbyist who bashed Sanders's proposal as a "desperate" attempt to outdo Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-Mass.) anti-corruption plan.

"This is simply a game of one-upmanship from a desperate campaign that doesn’t have the ability to draft a 27-page thesis like Warren," said the lobbyist.

The Sanders campaign—which proudly touts a list of "anti-endorsements" on its website—was unmoved by the lobbyists' criticism. In fact, as deputy campaign manager Ari Rabin-Havt put it, lobbyist outrage over the proposal "is not a bug—it's a feature."

Warren Gunnels, Sanders's senior adviser, tweeted: "We welcome their hatred."

In a statement to The Hill, Sanders national policy director Josh Orton pointed to the senator's grassroots fundraising model—which brought the campaign $25.3 million from an average donation of just $18 in the third quarter of 2019—and said "corporate lobbyists will never buy influence with Bernie, period."

"Bernie Sanders is building an unprecedented grassroots campaign to end corruption," said Orton, "and as a nominee would host a grassroots conventions for delegates, party members, teachers, workers, nurses, farmers, and students."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We need your help.

Support progressive journalism.

Common Dreams is not your average news site. We don't survive on clicks or advertising dollars. We rely entirely on your support. And without it, our independent progressive journalism simply wouldn’t exist. Every gift of every amount matters.

Join the fight and support our common dreams today.

Rich Nations' Vaccine Pledge Includes Just 613 Million New Doses—Well Short of Promised 1 Billion

"A single factory could produce this number in a year if you waived patents."

Jake Johnson, staff writer ·


Ocasio-Cortez Says 'Elephant in the Room' Is Senate Democrats Blocking Their Own Party's Agenda

"The argument that we need to make here," the New York Democrat said of bipartisanship's dead end, "is that it's worth going it alone if we can do more for working people in this country."

Jon Queally, staff writer ·


On Climate and Covid-19 Emergencies, G7 Judged a 'Colossal Failure' for All the World to See

"Never in the history of the G7 has there been a bigger gap between their actions and the needs of the world. In the face of these challenges the G7 have chosen to cook the books on vaccines and continue to cook the planet."

Jon Queally, staff writer ·


NYC Mayoral Candidate Eric Adams Rebuked for 'Dangerous' 400-Students-to-1-Teacher Theory

"Defunding schools to the point that we have a 400:1 student-to-teacher ratio so we can bankroll another huge expansion in an already-multibillion dollar police budget," said Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, "is how you build a school-to-prison pipeline."

Jon Queally, staff writer ·


Lack of Patent Waiver Would Add Over $70 Billion to Cost of Vaccinating World: Oxfam

Most of that money, said a spokesperson for the group, "will go directly into the pockets" of Big Pharma shareholders.

Jon Queally, staff writer ·