Thursday, July 21, 2016

Honest and Forthright vs Dishonest and Corrupt, Take 2

Okay so apparently someone less lazy than me has been reading my blog, because this exists: The American Anti-Corruption Act. You might think if Citizens United was overturned, everything would be right and good again. You'd be wrong. Here's what we need... And we can pass it via public referendum. Here's a direct copy and paste from their web site. Other than "Prevent politicians from fundraising during working hours" which is definitely not the right solution to that problem, I'll take the rest of it tomorrow...


Make it illegal for politicians to take money from lobbyists.
Politicians get extraordinary sums of money in the form of campaign donations from the special interests who lobby them. In return, politicians create laws favorable to these special interests – even when those laws hurt their constituents.

Under the American Anti-Corruption Act, people who get paid to influence politicians can either lobby or donate – but they can’t do both.

Ban lobbyist bundling. 
Lobbyists regularly bundle together big contributions from their friends and colleagues and deliver them in one lump sum to politicians. This turns lobbyists into valuable fundraisers, giving politicians an incentive to keep them happy by working political favors.
The Act prohibits lobbyists from bundling contributions.

Close the revolving door. 
Lobbyists and special interests routinely offer public servants high-paying lobbying jobs. Politicians and their staff routinely move straight from public office to these lucrative private lobbying jobs, where they get paid to influence their former colleagues.

The Act stops elected representatives and senior staff from selling off their government power for high-paying lobbying jobs, prohibits them from negotiating jobs while in office, and bars them from all lobbying activity for several years once they leave.


Mandate full transparency of all political money. 
Elections are being flooded with secret money funneled through “501c” organizations that are not required to disclose the names of donors. These secretive groups can spend money directly to influence elections and make unlimited contributions to super PACs, which run ads to elect and defeat candidates.

Under the Act, any organization that spends significant funds on political advertisements is required to file a timely online report disclosing its major donors.


Change how elections are funded.
Running a political campaign is expensive, but few Americans can afford to donate to political campaigns. That makes politicians dependent upon – and therefore responsive to – a tiny fraction of special-interest donors.

The Act offers every voter a small credit they can use to make a political donation with no out-of-pocket expense. Candidates and political groups are only eligible to receive these credits if they agree to fundraise solely from small donors and small-donor groups.

Prevent politicians from fundraising during working hours. 
Most federal politicians spend between 3 and 7 hours a day fundraising from big donors instead of legislating on issues that matter to voters.

Under the Act, politicians are prevented from raising money during the workday, when they should be serving their constituents.

Empower small donors over traditional PACs.
Big donors regularly pool together their money in political action committees (PACs) to elect or defeat candidates. These PACs provide wealthy contributors with yet another way to influence political outcomes.

The Act incentivizes the creation of new, small-donor PACs that only accept donations of $100 or less, giving regular voters a stronger voice in our elections.


Crack down on super PACs.
In its Citizens United case, the Supreme Court ruled that super PACs can spend unlimited money influencing elections, so long as they do not coordinate directly with official candidate campaigns. Since then, there has been tremendous coordination between campaigns and their super PACs, making a mockery of the “independence” the courts thought would exist.

The American Anti-Corruption Act enforces the Supreme Court’s mandate by fixing the rules aimed at preventing super PAC coordination.

Eliminate lobbyist loopholes.
Definitions of who is a lobbyist are weak and outdated. As a result, former politicians and their staff can receive big money to influence policy without formally registering as lobbyists.
The Act prevents lobbyists from skirting the rules by strengthening the definition of lobbying and penalizing lobbyists who fail to register.

Strengthen anti-corruption enforcement.
Agencies routinely fail to enforce the anti-corruption rules that already exist, because their leaders are appointed by the very politicians they are supposed to regulate. The result is an elections system where even lax rules can be skirted or broken with impunity.

The Act fixes the broken Federal Election Commission and gives prosecutors the tools they need to combat corruption.


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