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In a video released by Make the Road NY, the young congresswoman touted the fact that most of her donations were smaller sums, as she refused to take money from corporations.
“In my campaign, I didn’t accept a single dollar from corporations,” Ocasio-Cortez said, translated from Spanish to English. “The average donation in my campaign was $15. That’s really important because it changes the issues, it changes the advocacy that we have in Congress.”
Ocasio-Cortez continued to call for not only reform of state campaign finance laws in New York, but also of those at the federal level. She ran a successful grassroots campaign in the runup to the 2018 midterm elections, defeating 10-term incumbent Joe Crowley in the New York primary before securing her congressional seat.
Meanwhile, there is a growing movement among Democrats to shun donations from powerful political action committees and large corporations in favor of garnering grassroots support.
California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris – who entered the race earlier this year – said she raised $1.5 million from 38,000 donors in the first 24 hours after she announced her candidacy. She pledged not to accept money from political action committees.
Meanwhile, Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders inspired many 2020 candidates to reject PAC funding after doing so during his 2016 campaign. Sanders said he raised nearly $6 million from 223,000 small donors the day after he launched his presidential run last week.
Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren – another 2020 contender – took the strategy a step further and swore off big-ticket fundraising events targeting the wealthy during her campaign. She also said she won’t host calls with rich supporters, nor give them better seats at events. She also will not accept donations from powerful political action committees and lobbyists.