Clinton to propose U.S. campaign finance overhaul

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 08, 2015 12:06 AM

DES MOINES (Reuters) - Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton will propose a slate of campaign finance reform measures on Tuesday aimed at limiting political donations by corporations and large donors and increasing transparency in election spending.

Clinton, who is seeking the nomination to be the Democratic candidate in the November 2016 presidential election, identified measures she would pursue if she becomes president.

Among them are rules requiring greater disclosure of political spending including by publicly traded companies and U.S. government contractors and a program that would provide matching funds for small donations to presidential and congressional candidates.

"We have to end the flood of secret, unaccountable money that is distorting our elections, corrupting our political system, and drowning out the voices of too many everyday Americans," Clinton said in a statement issued by her campaign.

"Our democracy should be about expanding the franchise, not charging an entrance fee."   

The measures are aimed at tapping into voter concern over inequality, ranging from income to influence in national affairs. Clinton has put the issue at the center of her campaign, saying she will champion "everyday Americans" and boost the middle class.

But Clinton has come in for criticism for that theme, given her own family wealth and her decades in high-profile public positions.

Clinton also plans to call for an overturning of the controversial 2010 Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court. It allowed corporations and individuals to spend unlimited money for political advocacy through independent political action committees so long as they do not coordinate with candidates.   

That ruling has become a flashpoint on the campaign trail, drawing criticism from other candidates as well, such as Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who has pressured Clinton on her left.

Overturning the ruling would require new Supreme Court justices as well as amending the Constitution, according to Clinton's plans, and both are fraught with uncertainty.    

While Clinton remains the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, edging out Sanders 46 percent to 24 percent in a five-day rolling poll dated September 4 by Reuters/IPSOS, the progressive senator has been eating away at her lead.

In an NBC News/Marist Poll released on Sunday, 41 percent of Democratic voters in New Hampshire would back Sanders while 32 percent would cast a vote for Clinton if the poll were held today and Vice President Joe Biden were on the ballot.   

(Reporting by Luciana Lopez; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)