Sanders Tells DNC to Reject Super PAC Spending Against Progressives in Primaries

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I.-Vermont), has written an open note to Jaime Harrison (DNC chair), imploring Harrison and the party to reject super PAC dollars being used in primary election contests.

In his letter, Sanders recognized that Democrats have “condemned Republican ‘dark money’ super PACs which spend huge amounts of money to elect their right-wing candidates.”

Just this week The Supreme Court sided in favor of Sen. Ted Cruz (R.Texas).In a dispute about campaign finances, he ruled that he, and other candidates, are free to use any funds raised from donations to pay back personal loans they took out during the election season.

Sanders said that Democrats “appropriately” oppose efforts that would allow mega-donors to influence elections, including the use of super PACs in general election contests. He said that the party should do more in condemning such spending in its primary elections.

“I have not heard any criticism from Democratic leaders about the many millions of dollars in dark money being spent by super PACs that are now attempting to buy Democratic primaries,” Sanders wrote to Harrison. “The goal of this billionaire funded effort is to crush the candidacies of a number of progressive women of color who are running for Congress.”

Sanders noted that “a super PAC is a super PAC, whether it is funded by Republican billionaires or Democratic billionaires.” Dark money efforts to alter primary races should be rejected by the party, he went on.

The Vermont senator asked the DNC to “make it clear that super PAC money is not welcome in Democratic primaries,” stating that he believes the party should make public statements about the matter, and should “consider actions that punish candidates who refuse to adhere to this principle.”

Doing so would be advantageous to Democrats in the long-run, Sanders implied, as there would be “no question,” in his mind, “that the continuation of super PAC money in Democratic primaries will demoralize the Democratic base and alienate potential Democratic voters from the political process.”

“Let Democratic candidates compete with each other based on their ideas and grassroots support, not on the kind of billionaire super PAC money they can attract,” Sanders concluded.

Sanders’s letter comes as super PACs are indeed trying to shape Democratic primary races to promote more conservative choices in this year’s midterms.

The United Democracy Project, a super PAC that is affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committees (AIPAC), has spent more $2 million. in an effort to block progressive Pennsylvania state Rep. Summer Lee (D) from winning the primary election to run as a Democrat in the state’s 12th Congressional District. Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, a Democratic-New York Representative, support Lee.

The organization is also throwing its support behind incumbent Rep. Henry Cuellar, an anti-abortion Democrat, in Texas’s 28th Congressional District, spending more than $1.2 million in his primary raceTo help him resist a challenge by progressive candidate and human right lawyer Jessica Cisneros.