Democratic contender Bernie Sanders vows to eject money from U.S. elections

WASHINGTON, Oct 7 (Reuters) - U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders on Monday proposed overturning rules on money in elections, as the Democratic presidential contender pledged to "transform our political system by rejecting the influence of big corporate money."

Sanders, one of 19 Democrats competing to take on Republican President Donald Trump in the November 2020 election, would replace the Federal Election Commission with "a true law enforcement agency" and rid party conventions and presidential inauguration ceremonies of corporate sponsorship, according to a statement from his campaign.

"When we win the Democratic nomination and defeat Donald Trump, we will transform our political system by rejecting the influence of big corporate money," the statement said.

Celebrities who donated to Bernie Sanders
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Celebrities who donated to Bernie Sanders

Miley Cyrus

(Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

Danny DeVito 

(Photo by Ernesto Distefano/Getty Images for RBC)

Danny Glover

(Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

John Mulaney

(Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)

Matt Dillon

(Photo by Daniele Venturelli/Daniele Venturelli/Getty Images )

Emily Ratajkowski 

(Photo by Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Shailene Woodley 

(Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images for HUGO BOSS)

Cardi B

(Photo by Arik McArthur/WireImage)

Mark Ruffalo 

Susan Sarandon

(Photo by Isaiah Trickey/FilmMagic)

Justin Long

(Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Labyrinth Theater Company)

Rob Delaney

Vic Mensa 

(Photo by Yuchen Liao/Getty Images)

Jason Mraz

(Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)

Rapper Lil Yachty

(Photo by Prince Williams/Wireimage)

Norah Jones

(Photo by Roberta Parkin/Getty Images)

Brandi Carlile 

(Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Americana Music Association)

Dave Bautista

Sanders also proposed a constitutional amendment that "makes clear money is not speech and corporations are not people," intended to undermine U.S. Supreme Court decisions that allow unrestricted spending through political action committees and tax-exempt advocacy groups.

A constitutional amendment requires the support of two-thirds of both houses of the U.S. Congress and ratification by three-quarters of the states. Leading Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have opposed most efforts to restrain political donations.

The proposal comes as Sanders, 78, is recovering from a health scare that forced him to cancel campaign events last week.

On Friday, his campaign said Sanders had suffered a heart attack but that he would be back on the campaign trail soon.

Sanders trails former Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren for the Democratic nomination in most national opinion polls.

But his campaign said last week it raised $25.3 million in mostly small donations in the third quarter of this year, outstripping all other Democrats in the 2020 race.

(Reporting by Simon Lewis; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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