06/19/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Democrats Must Reject Goldman Sachs-Wall Street Money

Today, I have written a letter to Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic Party, asking that, as chair of the party, he use his powers to make sure that no Democratic Party candidate, and no campaign committee or leadership PAC, accept a single dollar from Goldman Sachs, and that all those entities return any money pocketed from Goldman Sachs during this cycle. I have asked him to go one step further: in order to support President Obama's legislative efforts to reform Wall Street, that he banish all money from the financial services industry from the coffers of any Democratic Party candidate or entity.

This is a very simply issue: the legalized corruption flowing from the financial services industry is aimed at one goal--to defeat any chance of reform of a system that sent millions of people to the unemployment line, destroyed trillions of dollars in wealth and vaporized the retirement hopes for many Americans. Indeed, it is that very corrupting money that laid the groundwork for the very crisis we are still digging ourselves out of: the deregulation of Wall Street was bought and paid for by political contributions.

We cannot let this happen again. In part, I pointed out to Gov. Kaine:

Yet, the industry, along with the Chamber of Commerce, is pouring millions of dollars into an effort to defeat President Obama's initiative. While much of the opposition to the reform is coming from the Republican Party, we must be concerned about the undue influence of the industry's money on our own party. Political contributions from the industry to Democrats can, and likely will, have enormous effect on the final legislation, through industry-friendly amendments introduced during any floor debate that might, for example, weaken one of the hallmarks of the president's proposal: a strong, independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

Therefore, I believe that Democrats cannot---and should not---accept a single dime from the financial services industry until we can assure the American people that we have fixed a system that has robbed millions of our people of their jobs and retirement.

The New York U.S. Senate seat is also for sale. I renewed my call today for my opponent, Kirsten Gillibrand, to return the $5,000 Goldman Sachs PAC contribution and the $23,800 she has pocketed from individuals tied to Goldman Sachs. In reality, that figure is actually a small amount compared to the tens of thousands of dollars that my opponent has taken from financial services interests, PACs and individuals (and a small part of the $1.4 million she has taken just from corporate PACs--companies fighting environmental progress, consumer rights and any reduction in the bloated military budget). We will be pointing out those connections in the coming days and weeks because the voters deserve to know who is buying the U.S. Senate seat in New York.

Today, we have created a counter on our campaign website to mark the days and hours that my opponent has refused to give back money linked to a company charged with serious crimes. As of the moment of this post, that counter stands at over 3 days and 13 hours. How much longer will my opponent wait to return money that is clearly designed to buy the U.S. Senate seat and hurt New Yorkers?