Issues Corruption

Corruption

Issues > Corruption

One of the great sources of imbalance in our society is the staggering amount of money that flows through our political system. A 2014 study by Princeton University concluded that, “The preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy,” while the views of special interest groups and especially the economic elite stand a far greater chance of being shaped into policy.

Can this possibly be surprising? Our elected officials’ status and lifestyle are in large part dependent on the donations they receive to fund their election campaigns, the moneyed interests have plenty to give, and so politicians will naturally go out of their way cater to the needs of those interests.

Rather than dance around with the term “money in politics,” I will call it what it is: Corruption.

I pledge that so long as I am in public life, I will never take campaign contributions from any corporations or their affiliated PACs.

Furthermore, I propose a law that will outlaw the legal corruption that runs our politics, called the Maryland Anti-Corruption Act. It will include the following provisions:

  • It will be illegal for elected officials to take donations from lobbyists
  • Lobbyists will be prohibited from “bundling” contributions from a number of sources in their personal and professional network to give to officials and candidates in a lump sum
  • Any organization that spends significant amounts of money to run political advertisements in Maryland will be required to disclose its major donors
  • If an official is on a committee responsible for regulating a particular industry, he or she may not take campaign contributions from companies and their PACs in that industry
  • Every Maryland voter will be entitled to a small “credit” that can be used to make a donation to the candidate of their choice at no out-of-pocket expense. Candidates will only be eligible to receive these credits if they agree to fundraise solely through small, individual donations.
  • Institute a “cooling off” period for former legislators by which they can not become lobbyists for a number of years after leaving office

This will not be an easy fight; the entrenched powers will fight their absolute hardest to resist this reform. This law represents the pinnacle of what I hope to achieve in state government, and I will need your support well past any given election to make it happen.

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