By: Sanford Nowlin
During a Friday panel discussion on money in politics, Democratic congressional candidate Gina Ortiz Jones called out her opponent, U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, as a poster child for corporate influence.
Jones has faced an avalanche of television attack ads, many funded by outside groups supporting the Republican incumbent she faces. Both seek to represent a border district that includes part of San Antonio.
“All of this outside money has distorted the conversation,” Jones said during the event at a Northwest San Antonio library. “These attack ads are out there because I want to move to a healthcare system that covers everyone. Versus my opponent, who wants to bring up nonsense because he doesn’t want to talk about the eight times he voted to take away healthcare protections from 300,000 people just in this district.”
In contrast to Hurd, Jones has pledged not to take money from special interests.
Jones appeared on the panel with Lucinda Guinn, vice president of campaigns at Emily’s List; Tiffany Muller, president of End Citizens United; and Democratic state Rep. Ina Minjarez, who moderated.
In 2008, before the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United decision, which allowed unlimited corporate spending in politics, outside groups spent $143 million in U.S. elections, Muller said. That number jumped to $1.4 billion in 2016.
Flipping the House is essential to helping curb the influence of big money on politics, she added.
“There are 25 pieces of good legislation that are just sitting in Congress,” Muller said. “It’s not that we lack ideas that help solve this problem. It’s that we lack leaders with the spine to get it done.”