“Donald Trump is corruption in the flesh,” Senator Warren said in her speech. “He is sworn to serve the people of the United States, but he serves only himself and his partners in corruption.”
On Monday, Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren released a sweeping plan for anti-corruption reform that she detailed at a rally in New York City’s Washington Square Park. The plan includes provisions to heavily restrict lobbying by imposing a lifetime ban on government officials from becoming lobbyists after leaving office and requiring lobbyists to undergo a two- or six-year waiting period before entering government service. Lobbying on behalf of foreign entities would be banned, too, and lobbyists would no longer be able to donate to political campaigns or host fundraisers for candidates. The plan would also require every candidate for federal office to release their tax returns and force elected officials to divest themselves of any holdings that would cause conflicts of interest. “Enough is enough,” Senator Warren said during her speech. “We will take down the ‘for sale’ signs hanging outside of every federal building in Washington.”
Warren began her speech by recounting the story of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, which took place in 1911 just steps away from Washington Square Park. The senator connected the deaths of more than 140 workers — mostly women, mostly immigrants, and some as young as 14 — to government corruption that allowed factory owners to enact dangerous practices ignored by elected officials. Frances Perkins, who witnessed the fire, formed a Committee on Public Safety to lobby for better hours and policies for workers; as Warren reminded the crowd, this was nine years before women even had the right to vote in the United States. Twenty-two years later, Perkins became the first female Cabinet member as Secretary of Labor in Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration.
“The tragic story of the Triangle factory fire is a story about power,” Warren told the crowd. “A story of what happens when the rich and the powerful take control of government and use it to increase their own profits while they stick it to working people. But what happened in the aftermath of the fire is a different story about power — our power, about what’s possible when we all fight together as one.”
Also on Monday, the Working Families Party endorsed Warren for the Democratic nomination. “Senator Warren knows how to kick Wall Street kleptocrats where it hurts, and she’s got some truly visionary plans to make this country work for the many,” said Maurice Mitchell, the party’s national director. “We need a mass movement to make her plans a reality, and we’re going to be a part of that work.” The party endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders for the 2016 nomination; this time around, Sanders came in second for the party’s vote.