Sanders vows to eject money from US elections

Sanders is competing to take on Republican President Donald Trump. (AFP picture)

WASHINGTON: US Senator Bernie Sanders on Monday proposed overturning rules on money in elections, as the Democratic presidential contender pledged to “transform our political system by rejecting the influence of big corporate money.”

Sanders, one of 19 Democrats competing to take on Republican President Donald Trump in the Nov 2020 election, would replace the Federal Election Commission with “a true law enforcement agency” and rid party conventions and presidential inauguration ceremonies of corporate sponsorship, according to a statement from his campaign.

“When we win the Democratic nomination and defeat Donald Trump, we will transform our political system by rejecting the influence of big corporate money,” the statement said.

Sanders also proposed a constitutional amendment that “makes clear money is not speech and corporations are not people,” intended to undermine US Supreme Court decisions that allow unrestricted spending through political action committees and tax-exempt advocacy groups.

A constitutional amendment requires the support of two-thirds of both houses of the US Congress and ratification by three-quarters of the states. Leading Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have opposed most efforts to restrain political donations.

The proposal comes as Sanders, 78, is recovering from a health scare that forced him to cancel campaign events last week.

On Friday, his campaign said Sanders had suffered a heart attack but that he would be back on the campaign trail soon.

Sanders trails former Vice President Joe Biden and US Senator Elizabeth Warren for the Democratic nomination in most national opinion polls.

But his campaign said last week it raised US$25.3 million in mostly small donations in the third quarter of this year, outstripping all other Democrats in the 2020 race.