February 5, 2016

FLASHBACK: Elizabeth Warren on Clinton: She Can Be Bought

During last night’s debate, Senator Sanders and Secretary Clinton argued over whether the millions Clinton raked in through speaking fees affected Clinton’s ability to hold those industries accountable. For her part, Clinton claimed she can’t be bought. If you only listened to Clinton during the debate defending herself, you’d think all those millions had no effect on her.

Yet according to the only female Democratic senator who hasn’t endorsed her, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Clinton is not telling the truth. For Warren, campaign contributions are an effective way to get Clinton to change her position on an issue. Some backstory is required:

In 2000, as First Lady, Clinton helped kill a bankruptcy bill that Warren also opposed. Then in 2001, after Clinton was a senator, she supported the bankruptcy bill that Warren continued to oppose. What changed in that year was that now Clinton herself was a politician and she needed the support of powerful special interest groups, like the credit card industry.

In a 2004 interview with Bill Moyers, Warren claimed that Clinton voted for the 2001 version of the bankruptcy bill because she received campaign contributions from the credit card industry and couldn’t risk alienating her donor base:

MOYERS: “And then, and then?” WARREN: “One of the first bills that came up after she was Senator Clinton, was the bankruptcy bill. This is a bill that’s like a vampire, it will not die right, there’s a lot of money behind it –” MOYERS: “Bill her husband had vetoed.” WARREN: “Her husband had vetoed it very much at her urging.” MOYERS: “And?” WARREN: “She voted in favor of it.” MOYERS: “Why?” WARREN: “As Senator Clinton, the pressures are very different. It’s a well-financed industry. You know a lot of people don’t realize that the industry that gave the most money to Washington over the past few years was not the oil industry, was not pharmaceuticals, it was consumer credit products. Those are the people, the credit card companies have been giving money and they have influence.” MOYERS: “And Mrs. Clinton was one of them as senator.” WARREN: “She has taken money from the groups and more to the point, she worries about them as a constituency.”