Bernie Sanders on the corrupting effect of money in politics
This page is meant to collect references to Bernie Sanders describing the corrupting influence of money in politics, and his positions regarding that corruption. Your help gathering source material is greatly appreciated. Your discipline in minimizing editorial comment is strongly requested. This resource is meant as a "just the facts" page. Please help keep it like that.
- Bernie Sanders has a page about Getting Big Money Out of Politics and Restoring Democracy on his official web site.
MSNBC Democratic Debate (4 Feb 2016)
SANDERS: Rachel, thank you very much.
Millions of Americans are giving up on the political process. And they're giving up on the political process because they understand the economy is rigged.
They are working longer hours for low wages. They're worried about the future of their kids, and yet almost all new income and wealth is going to the top 1 percent. Not what America is supposed to be about. Not the fairness that we grew up believing that America was about. And then sustaining that rigged economy is a corrupt campaign finance system undermining American democracy, where billionaire, Wall Street, corporate America can contribute unlimited sums of money into super PACs and into candidates.
Our job, together, is to end a rigged economy, create an economy that works for all, and absolutely overturn Citizens United. One person, one vote. That's what American democracy is about.
TODD: All right, welcome back. Let's get right to it.
Senator Sanders, you were talking about all of your campaign contributions and campaign finance reform. You rail against big money in politics. But do you realize there is one public financing system that we do have in place, and it is -- it is in place to run for president. Why aren't you walking the walk on that?
Why aren't you participating in the presidential public financing system which is designed to essentially keep big money out of presidential politics?
SANDERS: Chuck, actually we looked at it, but it turns out to be a disaster. The way it is structured right now, if you make it all the way to California, you could do pretty well. But in terms of the early states -- Iowa, New Hampshire, the other states -- it just doesn't work.
Your point is well taken. I believe in public funding of elections, absolutely. But this system is -- I don't know if the secretary would agree -- is currently very antiquated and no longer applies to modern day politics.
TODD: Well, going on that then, why criticize her on Super PACs, and you got -- and all this when it is -- you know, that's the system? I mean, you could be participating in a publicly-financing -- public financing system...
SANDERS: But if the...
TODD: ... and being able to set -- being able to set an example.
SANDERS: -- but Chuck, it is a public financing system that everybody knows is antiquated. It no longer works. Nobody can become president based on that system. So what's the alternative? There are two alternatives. And, you know, we looked at it. Well, should we do a Super PAC, but I concluded, honestly, I don't represent Corporate America or billionaires, I didn't want it.
So the other alternative was to ask working families and the middle class to help out in a transformational campaign. And you know what? We got 3.5 million individual contributions, $27 a piece. I think that's pretty good.