California could (and should) ban all corporate contributions to political parties

Eric Bauman emerged as the new chairman of the California Democratic Party this month by a razor-thin margin that revealed deep divides among Democratic activists. If Bauman wants to unify progressive Berniecrats and longtime party stalwarts, he should lead an effort to ban corporate contributions to state parties and candidates.

Delegates interrupted Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez at the California convention with shouts decrying so-called corporate Democrats. The party has responded by voluntarily swearing off oil company donations under pressure from R.L. Miller, head of its environmental caucus. Several 2018 gubernatorial candidates similarly signed pledges from the Sierra Club to forgo oil money in their campaigns.

But selective unilateral disarmament in the fundraising arms race raises more questions than it answers. What about donations from health insurance companies, pharmaceuticals or telecom giants? How about tobacco companies or Wall Street banks? Where should the party draw the line?

Read the rest of this column in the Sacramento Bee.

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