Democratic Progressive Caucus Calls on Florida Senate Candidates to Refuse Wall Street Money

Statewide Demos Sample FinalThe Democratic Progressive Caucus has been in the news a great deal lately. The 2016 US Senate race for the seat that apparently is being vacated by Senator Marco Rubio has created a rift between some progressives in the party and establishment figures. At the same time, the GOP is having a very difficult time finding a top-tier candidate to field, though I would caution my fellow liberals into thinking a potential race against Congressman Ron DeSantis would be a cake walk. DeSantis is a tea party Republican, but is also very savvy and smart in how he articulates the conservative message on the stump.

DeSantis aside, the Republican Party is having a difficult time finding the right candidate to push forward in this race. The opportunity afforded the Democrats with the decision of state CFO Jeff Atwater not to run on the Republican side is remarkable considering the malaise Democrats have experienced statewide. However, the internal debates within the Democratic Party seem to have intensified as it has become apparent that the party has a real opportunity to win this seat. Should the party’s voters nominate a candidate who is seen as more “electable” or nominate someone who represents the values of most Floridians who call themselves Democrats?

At the heart of this debate has been the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida led by Susan Smith. Below we have a press release from the DPCF regarding Wall Street donations and a letter sent from the DPCF to both announced Democratic Senate Candidates, Congressman Patrick Murphy and Pam Keith asking for a pledge not to take Wall Street money.

Democratic Progressive Caucus Calls on Florida Senate Candidates to Refuse Wall Street Money

Campaign contributions help Wall Street stack the deck in favor of those at the top, Smith says

Tampa Bay, FL – Today, the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida, a chartered caucus of the Florida Democratic Party, called on all Democratic candidates for Florida’s open U.S. Senate seat to publicly commit to reject campaign contributions from Wall Street PAC’s and executives.

“The problem with Wall Street money is that it always comes with strings attached,” said DPCF President Susan Smith. “Campaign contributions are one way that Wall Street works to stack the deck in favor of those at the very top, and saying no to Wall Street is the first step toward leveling the playing field.”

Two Democrats have thrown their hats in the ring for the seat being vacated by Marco Rubio. The DPCF has asked both Pam Keith and Patrick Murphy to promise to reject Wall Street money from this point forward.

Last week, U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards, who is running for U.S. Senate in Maryland, said she would refuse campaign contributions from Wall Street and called on her opponents to do the same. Wall Street is also said to be considering withholding contributions to all senate Democrats in response to the rise of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and the economic populism that she represents.

In 2014, Wall Street handed out $184 million to candidates, outside spending groups and political parties. With the GOP, aided by a handful of conservative Democrats, already chipping away at the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law passed in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown and working to weaken the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, that money is already showing a good return.

“We hope that both of the declared Democratic candidates, and anyone else who might enter the race, say no to Wall Street,” Smith added. “We need a senator who will stand up to Wall Street, not go along with their scheme to rollback necessary reforms like Dodd-Frank.”

The full text of the DPCF’s letters to both candidates is below.


Floridians deserve to know that Wall Street Banks won’t be allowed to buy the Senate seat opened up by Marco Rubio.

Big Wall Street banks crashed our economy and weren’t held accountable. The financial collapse crippled the middle class and poor – causing 23 million to lose their jobs, 9.3 million to lose their health insurance, and some 1 million to lose their homes. Many more lost their savings.

The prospect of another crash has grown more likely as Wall Street banks, larger now than they were then with their ability to buy influence growing by the day, through their lobbyists have already gotten Congress to repeal a key provision of Dodd-Frank intended to curb excessive speculation by the big banks.

We need stronger banking regulations now, before the next crisis.

Wall Street handed out $184 million to candidates in 2014 to buy off politicians. This number is expected to balloon in 2016. This outside spending is a threat to our democracy and a threat to local banks that reinvest in our communities.

That’s why the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida is asking you to publicly commit going forward not to accept any donations from Wall Street PAC’s or executives in your campaign for Florida’s open U.S. Senate seat. We are calling on all candidates to say no to Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and Citigroup, as well as their PACs and CEOs.

Your public commitment to turn down Wall Street money will send a clear message that your only allegiance is to the people of Florida.

I hope to hear from you soon.


Susan Smith, President
Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida


  1. Jeff Ryan · ·

    Good luck with that!


  2. Get Real · ·

    For God’s sake! Do these fools want to loose? Why would we go into a fight and refuse tools our opponent will use against us?

    I think it’s time the Democratic Party shut these people down! Who does Susan Smith think she is? She DOES NOT represent me.


  3. Nothing to argue with in Smiths PR or letter to candidates.


  4. Get Real,
    Our caucus doesn’t pretend to represent you. We represent Democrats who are tired of greedy Wall Street CEOs controlling the political system so they can line their pockets at the expense of working people.


  5. naoya6161 · ·

    Sorry, Progressive Caucus, but you’re wrong about this. Russ Feingold did the same thing as you suggested in the 2010 Wisconsin Senate race…that contributed to his defeat.
    How liberal a candidate is won’t matter if they lose. At this moment in time, results are all that matter.


  6. Blue Dog Dem · ·

    This is absurd.


  7. If you have a problem with the system, CHANGE THE SYSTEM. Don’t cripple Democratic candidates who have to play within the existing rules.


  8. I love this!!!!


  9. Mark Lynn · ·

    This amounts to Unilateral Disarmament! Always a bad idea ….


  10. Jonathan · ·

    so Democrats should just take dirty money because the other side does it?????


    1. naoya6161 · ·

      Asking only the Democrats to refuse money from certain interests during a highly contested election would be extremely stupid at this point. Change things through won elections.


  11. Blake Samian · ·

    Yes. There’s plenty of money to be had without rolling over for the same interests that broke the world.

    The issue is just that it’s easier for people making their living in politics to court a few big donors — the problem with that being that those few donors become the de facto constituents.

    It’s clear 2016 is going to be full of Warren-esque talk about protecting the middle class from the predations of the financial sector. Even the Republicans are talking that way.

    What’s going to happen to candidates who lazily rely on the very forces they purport to be fighting, when someone finally comes along and says they won’t?

    Money and cozy relations with monied interests doesn’t win elections in the present environment. Given that even the insiders acknowledge the populist wave is building, who is so foolish to think that 90’s- era triangulation with Wall Street can still win.

    Mobilization wins election now, and that requires more integrity than taking money from the same interests everyone proposes to be fighting will allow. Refusing Wall Street money can give Democrats an edge in that arena that sorely need.

    We are with you, Progressive Caucus!


  12. Joe Kreps · ·

    Why not take the money they stole from the people and use it for the people.?


  13. Melanie McRae · ·

    An interesting proposal, no doubt. Does this refusal extend to senior staff of these entities?While I would love to stand on my high horse and say do it, the more reasonable approach would be to accept limited amounts, if offered, thus providing a financial edge to our candidates while avoiding making them beholden to any one interest. Is that truly unrealistic a thought?


  14. […] don’t fare much better statewide. Congressman Patrick Murphy has been targeted by the Progressive Democratic Caucus of Florida  for his previous willingness to take campaign cash from Wall Street. Murphy is the overwhelming […]


  15. Please someone run against Patrick Murphy, MY $7600 to run as Independent would be better spent on someone Like Alan Grayson….like buying a lottery ticket.


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