COMEDY
08/09/2013 01:28 am ET Updated Aug 09, 2013

John Oliver Grills Kirsten Gillibrand About Wall Street Donations

It's tough to get a straight answer from politicians about the influence of money in politics. But "Daily Show" host John Oliver did what he could to get Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) to explain her Wall Street donations on Thursday's show.

"Help me understand the relationship between banks and politics, because on the Venn diagram of that, you are right in the middle," Oliver said. "You were the number one recipient of money from Goldman Sachs in 2011 to 2012 for all sitting congressmen. JPMorgan was your number two corporate donor over the last five years. What I deeply want to know is, what do you have to do for that? What is required of you for that money? Because it makes me uncomfortable."

Gillibrand punted with a general answer about her job as a politician. "My job is to represent New York and to do what's right for people. My job is to have a voice for people who don't have a voice in Washington," she said. "We need much more regulation for the banks, we need far more transparency and accountability."

Oliver circled back on his original question. "The thing that concerns me is the money and the politics thing, because it's chicken and egg," he pressed on. "Are there opinions that you have on Wall Street, do you get the money because you already have those opinions, or do you need those opinions to get the money?"

Rather than going into detail about the influence her Wall Street donors may or may not have on her political views, the New York senator said she believes that the influence of money in politics creates widespread distrust for politicians.

"Well, I believe in publicly funded elections, and I think we should get the money out of politics, period," she said. "Because at the end of the day, regardless of who supports your campaigns, whether it happens to be a lawyer or a banker or a stay-at-home mom, it's irrelevant where the money comes from. What matters is the public doesn't trust politicians and they don't trust politics. And they don't trust it because of the level of money in politics."

Wait, but doesn't it kind of matter where the money comes from?

Check out HuffPost Live's Mike Sacks discuss the segment below.

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