As of today 13 presidential candidates have signed the American Promise Candidate Pledge to support the 28th Amendment. Learn more about where the candidates stand on this issue—and who has signed our pledge.

Democracy reform has become a top theme of the 2020 presidential election cycle with campaign finance issues taking the stage. As citizens continue to voice their displeasure with the current pay-to-play system, many candidates are addressing big money in politics in their platforms. 

With the latest addition of Republican presidential candidate and former Governor Bill Weld, 13 current and former 2020 presidential candidates—on both sides of the aisle—have signed the American Promise Candidate Pledge, pledging that, if elected, they will use their office to advance a constitutional amendment to end the domination of big money in our elections. The pledge is a meaningful way to hold our elected officials accountable on this issue—and it works. In 2018, more than 250 candidates signed the pledge, and 12 pledge signers were newly elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Since then 100% of these U.S. representatives have made good on their pledges by co-sponsoring amendment legislation in Congress.  

Now is the time for citizens to come together to push for transformational reform via the 28th Amendment. American Promise citizen leaders are working on getting candidates at all levels of government to sign the pledge, so we have advocates in local governments all the way up to the federal government. The amendment will establish a system where the ultra-wealthy, unions, corporations and special interests can no longer disproportionately influence elections or legislation. 

Below, we share the 2020 presidential candidates’ stances on big money in politics, starting with candidates who have signed the American Promise Candidate Pledge.

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American Promise Candidate Pledge Signers 

(Listed in alphabetical order)

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO)

Sen. Bennet blames much of the gridlock in Congress over the past decade on the increasing role of big money in politics. He supports a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, place a lifetime ban on members of Congress becoming lobbyists, outlaw partisan gerrymandering, and advance ranked choice voting. The majority of his campaign contributions come from large individual donors.

Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT)

Governor Steve Bullock has made fighting dark money—spent by groups that do not reveal their donors—a focal point in his work as governor and his campaign for president. As governor, Bullock signed a law requiring these groups to disclose their donors when spending in Montana elections and issued an executive order that requires Montana government contractors to disclose their political contributions. During the 2018 midterm election cycle, Bullock launched the Big Sky Values PAC, a hybrid PAC/Super PAC that supported Democratic midterm candidates. Most of his presidential campaign contributions have come from large individual donations.

Former Rep. John Delaney (D-MD)

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Former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland supports a constitutional amendment to get big money out of politics and has signed the American Promise Candidate Pledge. He hasn’t provided further details on his policy positions for campaign finance reform. However, the $7.75 million he’s personally lent to his campaign shows he’s not against self-funding.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)

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Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is committed to campaign finance reform, opposing both PAC donations and the role of big money in politics. She wants to overturn Citizens United with a constitutional amendment, and has signed the American Promise Candidate Pledge. Her website outlines policy proposals such as public financing of campaigns, strengthening disclosure requirements for political spending, and requiring political ad buyers to reveal their identities.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)

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Sen. Kamala Harris of California has sworn off donations from corporate PACs and federal lobbyists. Although her campaign has secured many big money donations from corporate fundraisers, Harris decries the role of big money in politics. During her tenure as the California state attorney general, she worked for greater transparency in political spending.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)

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Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar has supported campaign finance reform measures like the For the People bill earlier this year and the legislation she co-sponsored in 2013 for a constitutional amendment to override Citizens United by allowing transparency in special interest political spending. Klobuchar also championed the Honest Ads Act to require Facebook and Twitter “to disclose the source of money for political ads on their platforms and share how much money was spent.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

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Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has been an outspoken candidate on big money in politics, which has been a key message of his 2016 and 2020 bids. Nearly 58% of his 2020 campaign has come from support from small donors nationwide. Although Sanders denounces Super PAC support, several supporters unaffiliated with his campaign have been fundraising for him.

Tom Steyer

Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer recognizes the problematic role of special interests and wealthy entities influencing politics and has signed the American Promise Candidate Pledge. Steyer opposes Citizens United and supports public campaign financing, although he plans to spend $100 million self-funding his campaign and his Super PAC donates heavily to left-leaning candidates.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has prioritized democracy reform in her campaign. Warren has pursued one of the most “aggressive anti-big money stance[s]” among all the candidates, having signed the American Promise Candidate Pledge and calling out wealthy individuals and corporations for their role in political corruption. Despite focusing on small donations—at an average $28—Warren raised more than $19 million in the second quarter of her campaign.

Former Gov. Bill Weld (R-MA)

Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld is running against President Donald Trump in the Republican primary. Weld supports a variety of democracy reforms, including reducing the influence of big money in politics, and signed the American Promise Candidate Pledge calling for the 28th Amendment. Weld’s campaign is primarily funded by large individual donors.

Marianne Williamson

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Self-help author and lecturer Marianne Williamson has been outspoken on the need for campaign finance reform. Beyond overturning Citizens United, her policy plans include public financing of federal campaigns and “holding special interest and corporate lobbyists accountable to the rule of law” for influencing public politics.

Other Republican Contenders

(Listed in alphabetical order)

Former Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC), Former Governor of South Carolina 

Former Rep. Mark Sanford, the most recent Republican to announce a run for president, has not made campaign finance reform a top priority of his campaign. While he was governor of South Carolina, he mentioned the passage of campaign finance reform legislation in his State of the State Address. In 2009, Sanford was charged with 37 ethics violations; he denied the charges and later settled for $74,000. Several charges alleged improper use of campaign funds. The majority of his campaign funding comes from large individual donors.

President Donald Trump

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President Donald Trump is running for re-election in 2020. In 2016, Trump popularized his “drain the swamp” message, which included campaign finance reform proposals targeting lobbying and securing elections from foreign spending. So far, the President has not passed comprehensive campaign finance reform legislation. 

Former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL)

Former Rep. Joe Walsh has not publicly proclaimed his positions on campaign finance reform. In his unsuccessful reelection bid, outside groups spent $5.2 million supporting his campaign. After serving one term in Congress, Walsh launched the Grow and Be Free Super PAC to fund conservative candidates, which raised nearly $30,000 before shutting down in 2015. Walsh is primarily self-funded.

Other Democratic Contenders

(Listed in alphabetical order)

Former Vice President Joe Biden

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Former Vice President Biden supported numerous campaign finance reforms throughout his career as a senator. In his 2020 run for president, Biden has relied primarily on large individual donations and encouraged donors to bundle contributions up to $100,000. Although he has not signed the American Promise Candidate Pledge, a spokesperson for his campaign says Biden supports a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)

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Sen. Cory Booker has called for campaign finance reforms, including overturning Citizens United, but has not gone into more specifics on his preferred plans. His presidential campaign has rejected donations from corporate PACs and is primarily relying on large individual contributions.

Pete Buttigieg, Mayor of South Bend, Indiana

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, has said the United States should pass a constitutional amendment “if necessary to clear up Citizens United but has not yet signed the American Promise Candidate Pledge. In June 2017, Buttigieg launched a leadership PAC, the Hitting Home PAC, to support Democratic candidates in the midterms. In May, Buttigieg shut down the PAC amid growing opposition to PAC money in the Democratic primary. His 2020 fundraising is roughly half from small-dollar donors and half from large individual donors.

Julián Castro, Former Mayor of San Antonio, Texas, Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary

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Julián Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio, Texas, and former Housing and Urban Development secretary under President Barack Obama, has said he will not accept any PAC money. In his campaign announcement, Castro voiced his support for a 28th Amendment to overturn Citizens United, but he has yet to sign the American Promise Candidate Pledge. A majority of Castro’s fundraising comes from small individual contributions with the remainder coming mostly from large individual contributions.

Wayne Messam, Mayor of Miramar, Florida

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Mayor Wayne Wessam of Miramar, Florida, has clear goals for democracy reform: “overturn Citizens United and get dark money out of our political system.” His campaign is said to be fueled by small dollar donations, but his fundraising total from individual donors is far behind those of other candidates. He has not yet signed the American Promise Candidate Pledge. 

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX)

Edward M. Pio Roda/CNN

Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke wants to make money in politics more transparent by overturning Citizens United and allowing public financing of federal campaigns. His comprehensive plan for campaign finance reform includes increasing participation, removing barriers and rebuilding confidence in our democracy. O’Rourke has not yet signed the American Promise Candidate Pledge.

Note: O’Rourke dropped out of the race on November 1.

Former Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA)

Matt Rourke/AP Photo

Former Rep. Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania writes on his website about his position on corporate abuse of power, which includes plans to increase transparency in political spending and to ban lobbyist donations to politicians, although Sestak hasn’t yet signed the American Promise Candidate Pledge. In 2010, he introduced the Fairness in Corporate Campaign Spending Act to “establish safeguards against allowing corporations to interfere with the electoral process.”

Andrew Yang

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Entrepreneur and philanthropist Andrew Yang has centered his campaign with an economic focus on reforming democracy. He supports a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United; his more immediate solution, the “Democracy Dollars” plan, proposes public financing for campaigns through a $100 government-funded voucher provided to every American per election cycle to be spent on their candidate of choice.