by Frank Kirkwood
How can we identify a true reform candidate?
We need to examine their behaviors, not their words. Below is a list of the behaviors that will separate true reform candidates from those who wish only to appear to be reformers in order to get the votes of citizens who want to fix our democracy:
A Reform Candidate:
- Has become a co-sponsor of all bills in Congress creating systems of small donor funding for congressional and presidential election or has pledged (when elected) to become a co-sponsor.
- Has become a co-sponsor of amendments to reverse Citizens United or has pledged (when elected) to become a co-sponsor.
- If a U.S. Senate candidate, has agreed to support the Supreme Court nomination of only those nominees whose understanding of the Constitution would lead them to reverse the Citizens United decision.
- Contributes money from his or her political accounts only to candidates who are themselves Reform Candidates.
- Contributes money from his or her political accounts only to organizations that support only Reform Candidates.
- Posts and maintains on the “Issues” page of his or her campaign website (and, if an incumbent, also on his or her official website) statements that he or she supports the above positions.
These behaviors aren’t just evidence of a candidate’s sincerity, they also serve to significantly advance the reform effort. They educate citizens that there are, in fact, solutions to the money-in-politics problem. And by pledging to fund only reform candidates, real reformers will not fund members of Congress who do not want reform and can fund those who do. After all, what is the use of electing a “reform” candidate to Congress only to see them use their position to raise money to elect candidates who are OPPONENTS OF REFORM? (Money from members of Congress to other candidate for Congress is a major source of campaign money. See: Incumbents are Big Campaign Funders)
These behaviors should be part of a larger “Reform Package”, including behaviors we would expect of candidates, once they become members of Congress. (Look here for some additional items that could be included: American Anti-Corruption Act, by Represent.US and the Fighting Big Money, Empowering People: A 21st Century Democracy Agenda, signed by large group of reform organizations.)