Before the party chokes to death on its own corruption. Next week the Democratic National Committee will vote on a crucial resolution to break the hold of wealthy donors and secretive PACs.

By Robert L. Borosage, The Nation

Big money—increasingly laundered through independent groups that do not disclose their donors—is corrupting our politics. In this election season alone, the Wesleyan Media Project reports, nearly 60 percent of the ads aired in Democratic House primaries were purchased by groups that offered only partial disclosure of their donors—or none at all. Progressive challengers in contested primaries were often the leading targets of these dark money groups.

EMOCRATIC NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS sign at building entrance. The HQ houses the DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE DNC which governs the Democratic Party

Democrats have long condemned the Big Money corruption of our politics—but reforms passed by the House of Representatives have repeatedly been torpedoed by Republican filibusters in the Senate. This month, however, Democrats could—if they choose—crack down on dark money poisoning their own primaries. And small-d democrats across the country should join in calling for them to act. Since the courts treat the Democratic National Committee and the party essentially as a club with free association rights, the party can make and enforce its own rules for how its candidates are selected—without the need for Republican cooperation. A resolution introduced by Judith Whitmer, chair of the Nevada Democratic Party—along with 33 of her fellow DNC members—calls on the party to “ban the use of ‘dark money’ funding during any and all Democratic primary elections.” DNC Resolution 19 also calls for mechanisms to investigate the use of dark money, explore possible disciplinary action, and empower states to set rules in their primaries to ensure transparency.

As Democrats from Joe Biden on down have argued, campaign finance reform is long overdue. This primary season has dramatized just how corrupt and corrosive the current system is.

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