The 78-member Congressional Progressive Caucus is meant to be the democracy-friendly, corporate-hostile wing of the Democratic Party, which is why the caucus announced a year ago that it would stop accepting corporate money — but a year later, nearly every member is still accepting corporate money in their individual capacity.
The CPC co-chair is Mark Pocan [D-WI], and it was he who announced the no-corporate-money policy, saying, ""If we are going to end the influence of corporations and special interests in government, we have to start by not relying on their support. Only by being fully independent of their financial influence can we prioritize people over corporations."
Pocan is one of the CPC members who has accepted corporate donations. Only three CPC members have refused all corporate money — but 40 new members (including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) have all taken the pledge.
While Jayapal is trying to coax her colleagues with carrots, the ballot box is acting as a stick. In September, Rep. Michael Capuano, a longtime progressive from Massachusetts, was bested in a primary contest by his opponent, Ayanna Pressley, who made Capuano's acceptance of corporate money a key campaign issue.
An analysis by The Intercept of the 2017-18 campaign cycle reveals that the vast majority of CPC members are similarly vulnerable, taking not just money from union and advocacy group PACs, but significant sums of corporate PAC cash as well. Not coincidentally, given the reliance on big money, hardly any members of the CPC rely on small individual donors.
Nearly Every Member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Still Takes Corporate PAC Money [Rachel M. Cohen/The Intercept]