Booker and Gillibrand Want to Stymie Special Interest Spending, Except for Labor Unions and Ideological Groups


Senators Cory Booker (N.J.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), who top the list of potential Democratic challengers to President Donald Trump in 2020, both announced last week that they would forgo accepting donations from corporate PACs in an effort to cure the corrosive effect they say special interest spending has had on the political system. But neither extended their pledge to labor unions and ideological groups.

Gillibrand made her pledge last week. It was quickly followed by Booker, who, echoing Gillibrand, said the “campaign finance system is broken.”

Neither’s pledge to stymie outside spending, however, extended to labor unions and ideological groups that have long been supportive of Democratic causes and candidates. Under the law, corporate PACs and PACs associated with labor unions and ideological groups operate under the same standard.

Each organization raises funds through a network of employees and individuals who voluntarily contribute donations, which in turn are used to support candidates who express ideological and policy positions that align with the priorities of the PAC’s membership. PACs affiliated with corporations, labor unions, and ideological groups are prohibited from directly coordinating with candidates and political parties, but they can raise unlimited funds and are under no legal obligation to disclose their donors. Each organization is also limited to a direct monetary contribution of $5,000 per candidate, per election cycle. – READ MORE

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