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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Just Protested Democrats' New Campaign Rule Deterring Primary Challengers in the Best Way

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 26: Democratic Nominee for the 14th Congressional District of New York Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks onstage during WE Day UN at Barclays Center on September 26, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage/Getty Images)

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is protesting the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's (DCCC) new rule punishing vendors who help primary challengers by raising money for swing-district Democrats.

In a tweet, the freshman Congresswoman urged her supporters to donate directly to individual candidates instead of to the party.


“My recommendation, if you’re a small-dollar donor: pause your donations to DCCC & give directly to swing candidates instead," she wrote in part.

Ocasio-Cortez also suggested campaigns for her supporters to donate their money to: California's Mike Levin and Katie Porter, and Illinois's Lauren Underwood.

Ocasio-Cortez's suggestions were well received.

Political vendors were notified of the DCCC's new policy in early March after the DCCC sent out a list of hiring standards saying that the party “will not conduct business with, nor recommend to any of its targeted campaigns, any consultant that works with an opponent of a sitting Member of the House Democratic Caucus.”

The change, as The Washington Post observed, "affects an array of firms that provide campaign services such as strategy, advertising and polling to Democrats running for House seats, and could make it extremely difficult for outsiders to persuade top consultants to sign on."

The DCCC, via spokesman Cole Leiter, defended the policy change in a statement:

"This transparent policy follows through on that exact promise and will protect all members of the Democratic Caucus — regardless of where they fall within our big tent."

Ocasio-Cortez isn't the only Democratic member of Congress to speak out against the policy change.

Representative Ayanna Pressley (MA) noted that the fact "that I challenged an incumbent meant a lot of folks were told not to come anywhere near my campaign."

"Without their willingness to go against the status quo - it’s very possible that I wouldn’t be in Congress," she added.

Pressley expressed concerns that the move could "risk undermining an entire universe of potential candidates and vendors," particularly women and people of color.

Democratic Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA), Mark Pocan (WI) and Ro Khanna (CA) met with DCCC Chairman Cheri Bustos (IL) this week to protest the policy.

“This unprecedented grab of power is a slap in the face of Democratic voters across the nation,” Khanna told reporters. “Voters are sick of the status quo holding on to power and stifling new voices. They are sick of D.C. politicians who care more about holding on to power than a true competition of ideas.”

He added:

"If this policy remains in place it will mean that we will not allow new Ayanna Pressleys or AOCs to emerge. It’s simply wrong.”