Democracy Gone Astray

Democracy, being a human construct, needs to be thought of as directionality rather than an object. As such, to understand it requires not so much a description of existing structures and/or other related phenomena but a declaration of intentionality.
This blog aims at creating labeled lists of published infringements of such intentionality, of points in time where democracy strays from its intended directionality. In addition to outright infringements, this blog also collects important contemporary information and/or discussions that impact our socio-political landscape.

All the posts here were published in the electronic media – main-stream as well as fringe, and maintain links to the original texts.

[NOTE: Due to changes I haven't caught on time in the blogging software, all of the 'Original Article' links were nullified between September 11, 2012 and December 11, 2012. My apologies.]

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Keith Ellison Vows To Ban Lobbyist Contributions To The DNC

In a new video interview with The Huffington Post, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) pledged to ban contributions from lobbyists to the Democratic Party if he’s elected as its next chairman.

“Yeah, I would,” Ellison told HuffPost when asked about banning lobbyist donations. “I think it’s important that people feel that the party is their party … There is a pragmatic, perhaps too pragmatic step that you can say, ‘We’ll just take whatever money from whatever source in whatever amount.’ But once you do that, I think you cross a line where people do not feel that the party is really theirs.”

President Barack Obama banned lobbyist contributions to the Democratic National Committee after winning the 2008 election, but the then DNC Chair, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) quietly lifted the ban during Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential run. In a December interview with HuffPost, Ellison’s chief rival for Wasserman Schultz’s successor, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, refused to rule out lobbyist donations.

“I think we have to have everything on the table,” Perez said. “We have to have a conversation where we bring in all the stakeholders and say, ‘What is the vision of the Democratic Party?’”

Lobbyists contribute only a small fraction of the money raised by the Democratic Party. And while they do grease the gears in Washington, D.C., they’re paid to do the bidding of other big donors ― CEOs, private equity bigwigs and other well-heeled operators who few politicians are willing to blacklist from the donor rolls.

“Reinstating the ban on lobbyist donations is a start,” said Larry Noble, general counsel of the Campaign Legal Center, a campaign finance reform non-profit. “But as long as the party is using special party contribution limits and joint fundraising committees to solicit contributions of hundreds of thousands of dollars from wealthy individual donors, the average American will continue to think the party doesn’t represent his or her interests.”

But for Ellison, the lobbyist contributions are a matter of public perception and voter engagement.

“People need to feel like, ‘Hey ― you know this Democratic Party? It’s my party,’” Ellison said. “And part of what gives them that sense that it is their party, that they possess it ― that they own it ― is that they pay for it.”

Ellison was the chief Capitol Hill supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) during the Democratic presidential primary. He has been endorsed in the DNC race by a host of key figures, including Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), along with centrist leaders such as former Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and his successor Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

Ellison co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Perez was a successful civil rights attorney for the Obama administration, and an advocate for working people at the Department of Labor.

Stay tuned for more from HuffPost’s interview with Ellison.

Original Article
Author: Zach Carter, Daniel Marans 

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