- The Washington Times - Monday, May 21, 2018

Congressional Democrats unveiled another part of their anti-Trump 2018 campaign platform Monday, proposing tightening campaign finance and ethics laws they said have been exposed as too weak after they failed to snare President Trump.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, said the effort is needed to combat “one of the most compromised, corrupt administrations in history.”

“Instead of delivering on his promise to drain the swamp, President Trump has become the swamp,” Mrs. Pelosi said on the steps of the Capitol. “Republicans and the White House are cravenly beholden to big money interest and the American people are paying the price.”

The announcement was part of Democrats “Better Deal” platform, which is an effort to give them a platform of ideas beyond antipathy to Mr. Trump. But the president remains the center of their complaints.

At the press conference Monday, Democrats said the Trump administration has put the wealthy and well-connected ahead of everyday voters and been mired in chaos. They highlighted former HHS Secretary Tom Price’s resignation amid an uproar over taxpayer funded charter flights, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s alleged ethical violations and the pay-to-play accusations surrounding Michael Cohen, Mr. Trump’s personal attorney.

“President Trump embraced the most egregious establishment Republican norms and appointed the most conflict-of-interest-ridden Cabinet in my lifetime,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat. “The swamp has never more foul or more fetid than under this president.”

Mr. Schumer pledged to “close the Cohen loophole so the president’s cronies can’t sell access to the highest bidder.”

Democrats also said they would try to curtail the special interest money they and Republicans have become dependent upon in the wake of the 2010 Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court, which ruled corporations have a First Amendment right to spend money on issue ads.

And Democrats vowed to push for automatic voter registration, adding millions of potential voters to the rolls to “build a more representative electorate.”

Less than six months out from the election, the jury is out on whether Democrats have crafted a powerful enough message to fully capitalize on the anti-Trump “resistance” movement and populism they say the president has hijacked, then betrayed.

“From giveaways to dirty energy polluters, our children are paying the price in the air they breath and the water they drink,” Mrs. Pelosi said. “The giveaways in tax breaks for Wall Street and wealthy corporations shipping jobs overseas, our workers and the middle-class are paying the price.”

Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer were joined by Reps. John Sarbanes of Maryland, Cheri Bustos of Illinois and Pramila Jayapal of Washington, as well as Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Tom Udall of New Mexico

Democrats targeted Republicans with a similar anti-corruption message — even using the very phrase “culture of corruption” -— as part of the 2006 midterm elections, which flipped control of the House and Senate.

Republicans said it won’t work this time around, blasting the Democratic campaign platform as a “total dud.”

“While the American people are focused on the booming economy thanks to President Trump and Republicans, Senate Democrats are instead flirting with impeachment talk, and are being pushed further and further left by their out-of-touch ‘resistance’ base,” said Katie Martin, spokesperson for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “If Senate Dems think avoiding the issues American families care about to appease the far left is a winning strategy, they are in for a rough election night.”

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