In a recent interview with Thom Hartmann, former President Jimmy Carter slammed the corrosive influence of big money on America’s political system.
Speaking out against the Supreme Court’s ruling in the now infamous Citizens United decision, Carter stated the ruling “violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system.” By allowing individuals and corporations to make unlimited “dark money” contributions to outside money groups and Super PACs, he believes our political system is moving rapidly away from democracy and towards something far more sinister.
“Now it is just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nomination for president or elected president,” Carter stated, “And the same thing applies to U.S. senators and congress members.”
That bribery, he says, results in big campaign contributors demanding favors once politicians make it into office.
“We’ve seen a complete subverstion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect and sometimes get favors for themselves after the election is over,” he declared.
Despite these stark truths, there is growing momentum for serious campaign finance reform. Currently, President Obama is considering issuing an executive order which would require federal contractors to disclose their political spending. In Congress, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is planning to introduce legislation that would begin to move our elections towards a system of public funding and Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD) has already introduced a similar measure in the House of Representatives. It is quickly becoming a central issue in the 2016 presidential race as well, with candidates on both sides of the political spectrum expressing concern over the issue of money in politics.