ATLANTA (CN) — The first general session of the winter Democratic National Committee meeting did not go entirely as planned on Friday; as a debate over whether to strike down a resolution banning corporate donations quickly turned into an ideological battle of wills.
Resolution 33, part of a package of over 50 resolutions put to approval at this week’s winter DNC meeting, would reinstate a ban on corporate donations to the DNC first introduced by President Obama.
“The American people are looking to Democrats to promote people-powered politics [over corporate interests] in this era of resistance, revival, and reform but are rightly concerned that their voices are drowned out,” the resolution says.
The resolution would also ban corporate lobbyists from serving as DNC chair-appointed, at-large members.
The move was immediately opposed by Bob Mulholland, a DNC member from California. Mulholland pointed to how major corporations like Apple, Cisco and American Airlines have quickly opposed discriminatory legislation like North Carolina’s controversial HB2, the anti-LGBTQ law also known as the “bathroom bill,” as one reason why the party should not disassociate from corporate powers entirely.
“American corporations stood up and stood with the Democratic Party platform. Now we want to turn around and tell those same people that they are not welcome at the DNC?” Mulholland said.
Marcus Mason, an at-large DNC member from California, also spoke out in favor of striking the motion, dismissing it as ill-worded and ill-conceived. The ban, Mason argued, is not a true ban since it allows individuals, including corporate executives, to make donations to the party.
However, many more members appeared to favor the ban.
Larry Cohen, a DNC chair from Pennsylvania, asked, “If we don’t restore that ban, how do we restore the faith of millions of voters, particularly young voters, who want to believe that there’s a big difference between us and the corporate Republicans they’re in the streets fighting?”
Applause punctuated Cohen’s remarks.
Christine Pelosi, a DNC vice-chair from California and the sponsor of resolution 33, stressed the importance of its passage, saying, “People do not trust us to fight for them. They do not trust us to put their interests first. In order to restore that and to show people quite clearly that these are our priorities, we have to put the American people first.”
To give party members a chance to review this and other resolutions in the package (including one to abolish superdelegates), the DNC tables on vote until on them until Saturday. Discussions will resume at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning before the election for DNC chair begins an hour later.