The criticism of money in politics continued when Mayor Pete Buttigieg journeyed Monday through Western Iowa.
When asked for his thoughts on former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s entry in the presidential race, Buttigieg was diplomatic.
“Well, [I’m] always glad to see another mayor run for national office, but obviously I think our message is the right message for America right now,” he said.
Ultimately, Buttigieg said candidates’ political messages would overpower someone who injects their own money in the race.
“I’m prepared to compete with anybody on those terms,” Buttigieg said.
Earlier in the day, Sen. Elizabeth Warren rebuked Bloomberg for his $37 million advertising purchase when he announced Sunday his official entry into the 2020 Democratic primary.
Bloomberg said he won’t rely on donors for his campaign and will instead self-fund. He has argued using his own wealth keeps him independent of special interests and allows him to better represent Americans.
As a presidential candidate, Trump made the same promise.
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) November 25, 2019
“I think the most important thing is for our democracy to respond to every candidate and to every candidate’s message by kicking around the ideas we put forward and evaluating what each of us is made of and deciding who best meets the moment,” Buttigieg said.
On his website, Buttigieg has a section about special interests and diminishing the role of big donors in campaign finance.
He has proposed a small-donor matching system for federal elections, strengthening the Federal Election Commission and overturning Citizens United with a constitutional amendment if necessary.
Right now, the FEC doesn’t have enough members to meet, which means it can’t conduct investigations, pass rules, issue fines or hold public meetings.
That also means the absence of a watchdog over political campaigns.
According to the Center for Public Integrity, Trump’s campaign has neglected to pay bills for police and other public safety measures at campaign rallies. Whether it has to pay is up for debate, but officials generally agree the bills should be reported, and there’s no agency holding them accountable.
Most of the Democratic field has professed the need to overturn Citizens United, a Supreme Court decision allowing unlimited spending by corporations in political campaigns.
“I’m a little disappointed [in Bloomberg],” said Kathy Barr, at Buttigieg’s event in Creston. “I think he just needs to retire and put his money to good causes.”
Barr said candidates should have to raise money for themselves and super PACs shouldn’t be involved in politics for any position.
Brandon Walkup of Winterset didn’t think Bloomberg needed to enter the race because he could use his resources for other causes.
“I think that’s a waste of good money,” Walkup said, of Bloomberg’s ad buy. “What you’re saying is some people have a louder voice, and that’s not how our democracy works.”
By Nikoel Hytrek