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Donald Trump Reverses on Central Theme of Being ‘Unbought’

May 5, 2016 | Laura Friedenbach

Washington, D.C.Donald Trump’s decision to raise money from the same special-interest donors he has criticized throughout his campaign will make his central message of being “unbought” ring hollow with voters, said money-in-politics group Every Voice in a statement today. He is also the only candidate still in the race who has not offered a comprehensive platform to address the broken system. 

“Without a concrete policy and action plan to reduce the influence of money in politics, Donald Trump’s claims that he’ll stand up to special interests and his criticism of Hillary Clinton’s fundraising will soon ring hollow. His self-funding wasn’t real reform but at least he could claim with a straight face that he wasn’t relying on big checks. As he succumbs to the very same donor class he has criticized almost every day of his campaign, Mr. Trump’s core message of being ‘unbought’ will be untrue,” said David Donnelly, president and CEO of Every Voice.

In addition to criticizing the broken system, both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have offered bold, comprehensive plans to address the problemwhich reflect the Fight Big Money agenda released by Every Voice and a dozen other groups last July. Trump has not.  As he prepares to meet with the Republican National Committee to talk about fundraising, here are some things he’s said about the donor class he’ll soon solicit checks from and what influence that money has over politicians:

“And the donors, the special interests, the lobbyists have very strong power over these people.” September 15, 2016.

“These are special interests, folks. These are lobbyists. These are people that don’t necessarily love our country. They don’t have the best interests of our country at heart. We were not going to let it happen. We can’t. We have to do something about it.” February 8, 2016.

“I know that a lot of groups, a lot of the special interests, and a lot of the lobbyists and the people that want to have their little Senator do exactly as they want, they’re going to put $20 or $25 million dollars into it over the next two weeks…and if he wins they’ll have total control.” March 2, 2016.

“We’re not buying equipment that sells because they have political pull. Because they take campaign and they give campaign contributions. We are going to get the equipment that they want, not the equipment that they’re told to have by senators and congressmen in Washington.” February 21, 2016.

“I’m self-funding and I am going to take care of the people – not the special interests and insurance companies like the other candidates.” February 19, 2016.

“When will @TedCruz give all the New York based campaign contributions back to the special interests that control him.” January 17, 2016.

“Jeb, if he were President, it would just be more of the same, it would be just— he’s got money from all of the lobbyists and all of the special interests that run him like a puppet.” December 20, 2015.


Every Voice is a national nonpartisan organization fighting for a democracy that works for everyone. Learn more at everyvoice.org.

Every Voice and Every Voice Center have recently come under new leadership. We will be expanding and diversifying our efforts to promote a democracy that works for all of us and responds to the voices of everyday people. Watch this space for specifics later in 2019.