By Kevin McKeown
The presidential candidacy of Bernie Sanders last year highlighted a
debate within the Democratic Party regarding over-reliance on corporate
funding of campaigns, in a political party that purports to represent
working people, not their bosses.
On Sunday, the California Democratic Party adopted a resolution
co-authored by Santa Monica Councilmember Kevin McKeown that moves the
Party away from corporate influence. The resolution was endorsed by the
Santa Monica Democratic Club, the Pacific Palisades Democratic Club, the
Feel the Bern Democratic Club, and the Alhambra Democratic Club.
Citing existing planks in the state platform, McKeown’s resolution
“denounces the culture of corruption and cronyism wherein corporations and
corporate lobbyists seek to control the political process through campaign
contributions.” It parallels the creation by the California Democratic
Party of a high-level Campaign Finance Reform task force.
McKeown, who in his five elections to the Santa Monica City Council has
consistently declined all developer and corporate donations, says “Other
political parties may continue to shamelessly represent corporate
interests, but Democrats must clarify our principles and earn the votes of
those we seek to represent. We believe elections belong to the voters,
not the corporations, and our actions must demonstrate our commitment to
The resolution, titled “Denounce the Influence of Money in Politics,” was
also endorsed by McKeown’s City Council colleague Sue Himmelrich, by Santa
Monica Democratic Club co-chair Jon Katz and other executive board members
of the club, and by over fifty other individual Democratic State Party
delegates up and down the state of California.
“This unity and this action are a gratifying indication that Democrats are
returning to our roots and recommitting ourselves to representing our
neighbors, not corporate checkbooks,” said McKeown.
The resolution will be forwarded by the State Democratic Party to the
California Congressional delegation, all state legislators, and the
Democratic National Committee.