It has been fully documented that the vast and obscene amounts of money injected by Special Interest Groups have corrupted our political system so much that few other significant problems will be resolved satisfactorily until this cancer is excised. Our no holds barred, non-partisan, non-ideological proposal will remedy this debilitating problem. Our overall thesis is that campaigns must be funded entirely by small amounts of money contributed by individuals. Its main pillars are:
- Candidates for office can collect funds only after they have declared their candidacy. Only American citizens of age 18 or older living within their jurisdiction can make contributions. Individuals can only contribute up to $500 per election cycle. An election cycle begins when a person declares that he or she is a candidate and ends when an official is elected. All non-monetary contributions are prohibited. This includes but is not limited to travel, lodging, supplies, etc. Individuals may volunteer unlimited amounts of their own time.
- The money donated can be spent on the primary and election campaigns, nothing else. Money not spent does not belong to the candidate. Any remaining funds at the end of each election cycle must be distributed to certified charities active in the candidate’s jurisdiction and those charities must not have any relationships with the candidate which can cause any conflicts of interest. The only money that can be spent in a candidate’s quest to win a primary or general election are the campaign funds collected by the candidate. This will eliminate parallel campaigns such as those run by so called independent groups or individuals.
- Once an elected candidate is in office, all office expenses, e.g., staff, must be paid by the government. If something is worth doing, then the government, not a Special Interest Group, must pay for it. No office holder may receive gifts or fees for entertainment, travel, ghostwriting position papers, books, speeches, etc., from any outside source. The group writing proposed legislation will consist only of legislators and their staffs. Any individual or group can submit proposals for legislation.
- Office Holder shall not earn any money other than his or her government salary. The only exception is that received from savings and investments. (Investments must comply with existing law.) Examples of sources of income not permitted include but are not limited to speeches, books, articles, personal appearances, consulting, paid vacations, trips, dinners, physical gifts of any amount, etc.
- Elected officials may not accept any position outside government in which they can influence government decisions for a period of three years upon leaving elected office. If the most remote possibility exists that government decisions may be influenced, then the three year waiting period applies.
- Political parties at all levels – national, state, county and city or town, etc. – are Special Interest Groups. They are, however, different from others in that their objectives are political, i.e., their main reason for existence is to elect their members to office. Political parties provide a useful setting for like minded people and they should be able to do some things that other Special Interest Groups can not. Click here and scroll to item VI to see the list of things that political parties can or can not do
We know we face obstacles. That the Supreme Court confuses corporations with people provides ample evidence. We believe that a grassroots movement at the state level can force Congress to call a constitutional convention to write an amendment which will return political power to us, “We the People.”