Kirsten Gillibrand Will No Longer Accept Corporate PAC Money

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand says she will no longer accept donations from corporate PACs—a sign that she is positioning herself as a more progressive candidate amid rumors she may run for president in 2020.

Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, made the pledge to End Citizens United, a political action committee (PAC) that supports Democrats in key races who seek to reform the campaign finance system. The pledge will be applied to her Senate campaign as well as her PAC, Off the Sidelines, according to BuzzFeed.

The junior senator, who has held her seat since 2009, is now joining Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) in her promise to not take corporate PAC money.

“Because of the corrosive effect of corporate money in politics, I’ve decided from this point on, I’m no longer accepting corporate PAC checks into my campaign,” Gillibrand said in a video posted on her Twitter page on Tuesday afternoon.

She said she became “so concerned” about money in politics because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, which allows corporations, unions and nonprofits to spend freely on elections as long as they do not collaborate with campaigns.

Under the current system, Gillibrand explained, corporations can spend an unlimited amount of money “that isn’t even disclosed.”

She noted that since she was first elected in 2006 as a congresswoman in upstate New York—a position she held from 2007 to 2009—she has worked to create more transparency and accountability in Congress.

“I was the first member of Congress to actually post my schedule, my earmark requests and my financial disclosure online, and I’ve since added to that my taxes,” she continued. “So I hope you will stand with me. We really need to make every effort we can to get rid of the corporate money and dark money that is flowing into politics, and my effort to ban corporate PAC checks is just a first step in that direction.”

End Citizens United took to Twitter to announce that it was endorsing Gillibrand for her reelection bid this year as a result of her decision.

The move is the latest in a series of comments the senator has made indicating she is potentially seeking higher office.

On Sunday night, Gillibrand told CBS’ 60 Minutes that she was “embarrassed” by her past conservative views on guns and immigration issues while serving as a congresswoman in upstate New York.

She also opposed a bipartisan budget deal unveiled by Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, and Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell because it did not include protections for undocumented individuals brought to the United States in their early childhood.

And she called on former Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) to step down over sexual harassment allegations—he eventually resigned–and said former President Bill Clinton should have resigned over his affair with then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

The senator also urged President Donald Trump to resign over sexual misconduct allegations.

Gillibrand has emerged as a leading voice in the Senate on combatting sexual assault, with bills seeking to tackle assault on college campuses and in the military over the last several years.

Kirsten Gillibrand Will No Longer Accept Corporate PAC Money