To correct Bob Warren, my letter (12/12) in no way demanded that Rep. Peter DeFazio “pledge to not accept PAC money.” That ship has obviously sailed.
DeFazio’s business PAC money exceeds his small individual donations by four times, and for 16 of the past 17 years he accepted money from the Association of American Railroads, which was determined to be “the most active organization in the climate denial movement.”
Warren, a former advisor for DeFazio, argues that DeFazio’s strategy of welcoming such cash is how you beat a “Trumpster” and their super PACs. We ran that experiment in 2016 when Clinton handily outraised Trump, including raising 2.5 times more in super PACs.
There is an alternative. Multiple freshmen representatives take what Warren calls “silly pledges” and still outraise DeFazio by using popular policies that attract small individual donations and votes. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez outraised all house Democrats in the third quarter, including an unprecedented $1.1 million in small individual donations alone. That’s more than DeFazio received in total through all three quarters.
Bernie Sanders also takes these pledges, as does DeFazio’s primary challenger, Doyle Canning.
While I disagree with Warren’s strategy, at least he’s honest about it. DeFazio makes far-fetched claims of being “grassroots” and “powered by the people” while swimming in corporate cash that even his former advisor openly supports. My demand isn’t that DeFazio refuse corporate PAC money, it’s that he is honest about it — neither are demands I need to make of Canning.