02:38 GMT +322 October 2019
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    Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders

    Bernie Sanders Wants Publicly Funded Elections to Bring Down US 'Oligarchy'

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    Vermont Senator and 2016 Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, who has long championed the cause of getting big money out of politics, announced on Sunday that he will be pushing for legislation that would provide public funding for elections, and allow anyone, regardless of financial circumstance, to run for office.

    "We're going to introduce legislation which will allow people to run for office without having to beg money from the wealthy and the powerful," Sanders announced at a town hall meeting in Rollinsford, New Hampshire.

    He went on to compare US politicians to NASCAR drivers who represent their sponsors, equivalent in politics to the Koch brothers or Big Oil, and stated that candidates should, like race cars, have to wear signs advertising their sponsors and disclosing who is paying for their campaigns.

    Sanders also blasted the Citizens United decision, which held that the First Amendment prohibits limitations on political expenditures by corporations, and which Sanders says paved the way for the creation of an oligarchy by essentially permitting unlimited campaign spending by the super rich.

    "We must overturn that decision before it's too late. We are increasingly living in an oligarchy where big money is buying politicians,” Sanders reminded crowds, referencing the 2010 US Supreme Court ruling.

    Meanwhile Hillary Clinton, who has three Super PACs and leads Sanders in the polls, has not been as outspoken on the issue, although she did endorse publicly funding elections. 

    “I believe in publicly financed elections, we’ve had a check box on the tax form for a long time, and most people don’t check it anymore,” Clinton said.

    “I’ll do everything I can to then go to a legal framework and, as I said, if necessary I will support a constitutional amendment, okay?” the former secretary of state concluded.

    Clinton has yet to support the Government by the People Act, which Sanders has already signed, declaring “I support restoring democracy by publicly financing elections and taking big money out of politics.”


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