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.
As an activist, I have worked in support of a proposed federal law that would address the many ways our political system has been corrupted: The American Anti-Corruption Act. I endorse the AACA as a candidate, and I am committed to implementing some of its provisions as state law. Here are some changes I’d like to see:
Ban corporations from making direct contributions to candidates in Maryland
Separate lobbying from fundraising; someone can lobby an elected official or raise money for them, but not both
Any organization that spends significant amounts of money to run political advertisements in Maryland should be required to disclose its major donors
Officials who serve on a committee responsible for regulating a particular industry shouldn’t be able to take money from companies and related PACs in that industry
Public financing for all state level races, to strengthen the people’s voice in their democracy
Extend the “cooling off” period for former legislators who wish to become lobbyists to 5 years after leaving office