$120 million for Jeb. $67.8 million for Hillary. An election projected to cost $10 billion.
Big donors are buying politicians. Lobbyists are writing our laws. America is in the midst of a corruption crisis, and everybody knows it. But only a handful of 2016 presidential hopefuls have been willing to publicly call the problem what it actually is: Corruption.
If most candidates won’t even recognize America’s corruption crisis, we can’t possibly expect them to offer serious solutions. It’s time to find out exactly which candidates have the guts to face this crisis head on — will you add your name to our open letter demanding that all presidential candidates call it corruption?
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Why does this matter?
We’re done settling for candidates who tiptoe around the truth. Calling this crisis anything less than corruption downplays the importance of the issue and allows politicians to offer weak and incomplete policies instead of real solutions like the American Anti-Corruption Act. If candidate won’t speak honestly about the problem, they can’t be trusted to actually follow through with real solutions.
What will you do with this letter?
We’ll send it to every major presidential candidate and hound their campaigns on social media and in the press using #CallitCorruption until we get a real response. If a candidate refuses to answer or responds with a vague dodge, we’ll publicly call them out.
Public pressure is key in these early primary stages — just drawing attention to a weak position can be enough to create negative press or sink a candidate’s poll numbers. The more people who sign on, the more power we have to hold candidates accountable.
Candidates who call it corruption
Note: In order to make the list below, candidates must consistently use the words “corrupt” or “corruption” in specific reference to the way money warps America’s political system. Qualified phrasing (“corrupting influence,” “money in politics,” etc.) doesn’t count.
Lawrence Lessig (D)
“End this inequality and corruption. Give us a government free from the money. Give us a Congress free to lead.”
Specific reform policies proposed: Hybrid of voter funding proposal presented by John Sarbanes’ Government by the People Act and anti-corruption reforms outlined by the American Anti-Corruption Act. Mr. Lessig’s official policy page can be viewed here.
Bernie Sanders (D)
“The current political campaign finance system is corrupt and amounts to legalized bribery.”
Specific reform policies proposed: Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, increased disclosure of political money, increased lobbying restrictions, revolving door restrictions, and voter funded elections. Sen. Sanders’ official policy page can be viewed here.
Donald Trump (R)
“That’s a corrupt system. That’s a broken system.”
Specific reform policies proposed: 3-4 year lobbying ban for former government officials. Mr. Trump has expressed support for enhanced transparency laws and campaign finance reform but has yet to offer further specifics. Mr. Trump’s website does not have an official policy page for this issue.
This list was built based on a search of candidates’ official web sites, public statements, and press clippings (last updated Friday, August 21 2015). Think something or someone is missing? Please send us an email at [email protected]