A group of two dozen activists rallied in Center City Wednesday to demand that the Democratic National Convention host committee release its list of donors.
The group, which calls itself Reclaim Philadelphia, is also asking for the host committee chairman Ed Rendell (former governor and mayor), special advisor David L. Cohen(senior executive vice president at Comcast) and finance chairman Daniel Hilferty (president and CEO of Independence Blue Cross) step down from their committee roles. The group, which is comprised of several former Bernie Sanders campaign volunteers and staffers, said that the three men’s current or previous jobs are in conflict with the progressive policies Reclaim is advocating the Democratic Party pick up: universal health care, a $15 an hour federal minimum wage, and a moratorium on fracking.
“We want these figures to resign but what we ultimately want is … to call attention to the corrupting role of money in politics,” Reclaim spokesman Alex Nagle said at Wednesday’s rally at 16th and John F. Kennedy Boulevard. “We’re trying to fight these corporations that profit at the public’s expense.”
Xelba Gutierrez, one of Reclaim’s lead organizers, said that the host committee should disclose its donors so that the public can decide whether the people backing the Democratic National Convention falls in line with the party’s message.
“We don’t want lobbyists that are in complete contrast to the platform that they are supposed to be working on,” Gutierrez said, referencing the progressive policies that Reclaim and many Bernie Sanders supporters would like to see the Hillary Clinton campaign adopt.
“There’s got to be a reason why they aren’t showing it,” Gutierrez said of the donors.
The host committee has said it intends to release the names and donation amounts of all of its sponsors in October when they are due to file with the Federal Elections Commission.
The state Office of Open Records ruled last month that the host committee’s quarterly fundraising reports, which it has to file with the government agency Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development (PAID), are public records and should be released. PAID and the host committee have not yet said whether they will comply with the order. They have until July 15 to decide whether to release the documents or appeal the decision in court.
Reclaim tried to hand-delivered their letters to Rendell, Cohen and Hilferty Wednesday following the rally. They were stopped at each building by security personnel who promised to deliver the letters.
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