Kirsten Gillibrand Wants Money Out Of Politics—But Not Her Private Campaign Events

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Democratic New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand dodged a line of questioning from Fox News anchor Chris Wallace on Monday about her stated desire to get money out of politics while she is charging thousands of dollars for tickets to her own campaign events.


Wallace brought up the issue of money in politics by bringing up fellow Massachusetts senator and Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, who “announced today that’s she not going to hold any big fundraisers with high ticket prices to get in.”

“Is Warren right that access to candidates is for sale?” Wallace asked, referring to the fact that a Pfizer executive is “holding a big fundraiser” in March and selling tickets for “$1,000 to $2,700.”

“No, but I think you do need to get money out of politics,” Gillibrand responded. “The most important thing we have to do is upend the way our democracy functions. Today, the wealthiest, most powerful lobbyists and special interest groups get to write bills in the dead of night … So when you write a bill in Medicare part D, and say, ‘Medicare, they can’t buy in bulk and get the cheapest prices for drugs.’ That’s just a sweetheart deal for the drug companies so that they …”

“This is a drug executive who’s holding this meeting,” Wallace interjected.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand speaks to reporters about the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand speaks to reporters about the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. REUTERS/Mike Segar

After Gillibrand pointed out that that particular executive is a “dear friend” who believes in her platform, Wallace pressed her on the “$2,700 tickets.”

“So what’s wrong with Washington is there’s so much corruption—so much corruption, so much greed,” said Gillibrand. “We can’t actually pass common sense gun reform in this country, not because the American people aren’t behind it, because they are, but because the NRA’s more worried about gun sales than they are about the well-being of our kids. So what’s really wrong with Washington is corruption and greed.” (RELATED: Hillary Clinton Goes After ‘Secret Money’ In Politics While Using It For Her Own Dark Money Group)

“So for me, that’s why I’m banning federal lobbyist money, it’s why I’m banning Super PAC money, that’s why I’m banning – no, I’m not having an individual Super PAC – and why I’m banning corporate PAC checks,” she continued after Wallace pressed her again to answer the question. “That is a first step to making sure that the moneyed interests, the powerful, the elite of the elite don’t have unbelievable influence over Washington. When the Koch brothers decide …”

“Just answer,” Wallace pressed. “The $2,700 tickets, are you going to go ahead and have the fundraiser or not?”

“Of course,” the senator responded. “I’m going to ask Americans all across this country to support my campaign. But taking away the influence that corporate PAC checks have, the fact that federal lobbyists get to control everything and write bills in the dead of night, the fact…”

“And you don’t see a – you don’t see a contradiction there?” Wallace asked.

“I don’t, because at the end of the day, people are going to support our campaigns because they believe in us,” she responded. “They believe that I will fight for women’s reproduction freedom, that I’ll believe they will fight for LGBTQ equality, that it won’t demonize people across this country.”

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