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Former Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold, regarded as liberal but independent during his three terms in the Senate, says he is starting a "progressive" movement to support like-minded candidates and fight the influence of corporate money in campaigns.
Feingold, who was defeated in his bid for reelection in November, has rejected calls from some liberal voices to challenge President Obama as a candidate of the political left in the 2012 Democratic primaries. Instead of returning to electoral politics, he said in a new video he's forming Progressives United, a group that will have a political action committee to raise money and back candidates that "uphold our progressive ideals."
"As progressives, it's time we made our voices heard," the 57-year-old lawyer said.
Best known as co-sponsor of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law, Feingold made it clear that countering corporate cash will be a focal point. His reform law was was undermined by last year's Supreme Court Citizens United opinion, which removed most barriers to spending by corporate and union interest on campaign advertising. Feingold called it "one of the most lawless decisions" in American history.
"Our fight is not over," he said. "Together we'll start a movement."
Feingold's organization says it will will push back against the flood of business money going largely to Republicans, and aim at "eventually overturning the Citizens United decision," The Hill newspaper reported.
Feingold, a graduate of the Harvard Law School, took a job teaching law at Marquette University in Milwaukee after leaving the Senate. He lost to conservative businessman Ron Johnson, who was supported by the tea party movement.
Watch the video, courtesy YouTube.
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