Lawmakers Avoid Constituents; Meet with Campaign Donors Instead
February 25, 2017
In yesterday's article from The Intercept, Lee Fang and Nick Surgey explain that, of the over 200 GOP lawmakers who are skipping their town halls, many did manage to find time to meet with wealthy campaign donors. One of the more notable absentees is House Speaker Paul Ryan, who began the Congressional recess with a $10,000 per person "Winter PAC Retreat" event for his Team Ryan fundraising committee.
Other notables include Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, Arkansas Sen. John Boozman, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, South Dakota Sen. John Thune, Texas Sen. John Cornyn, among others. Like Speaker Ryan, most lawmakers were able to make themselves available to anyone who could make a significant donation to their political campaigns. Here is what it will cost you if you want to be heard by each of these Senators:
- Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso: $1,500
- Arkansas Sen. John Boozman: $500
- Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner: $1,000
- South Dakota Sen. John Thune: $1,000
- Texas Sen. John Cornyn: $500
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The message is clear: if you can't help them, they won't help you. If you don't have at least $500 to give to them, you don't matter enough to be heard. We will never have a system in which one person equals one vote as long as candidates for elected office are required to raise campaign contributions, and indebt themselves in the process. There has never been more money in politics than there is today.
The best way to get out of the grip of the two-party system and their financial backers is through publicly-funded elections. We can eliminate the need for candidates to raise funds, and create an environment where candidates are judged by their ideas, and not by the depth of their pocket books or their willingness to be corrupted. Although this puts the responsibility of financing the elections on the taxpayer, this is a small price to pay for a functioning democratic society. Additionally, the total cost of elections would be drastically reduced for the following reasons:
a. Providing information about candidates and their views could be extremely inexpensive. With state administered elections, we can provide fair and equal coverage of every candidate through a simple website.
b. Debates can be held through video-conferencing, allowing for more debates at lower cost.
c. The mutual back-scratching that takes place between elected officials and their financial backers can instead be invested into the wider economy.
We will continue to be ignored until we fix this problem. How do we fix it? Stop supporting candidates who don't make this the focus of their platform, and start supporting the candidates and organizations that do. Contact your senators and representatives to let them know that you will not be supporting them if they aren't intent on getting private money out of politics. Finally, run for office! A mass movement is stirring in this country. Don't miss out on your opportunity to be a part of it.