There are two very good news reports in today's Rocky Mountain News that demonstrate how the "culture of corruption" pervades both establishment political parties. The lust for campaign contributions is a scandal at the federal and state levels.
First, in the story about "praise for cash" that our Congressional delegation engages in (except retiring Rep. Joel Hefley), is the sentiment of near astonishment from the likes of Beauprez and Udall that there is anything wrong. They're drowning so deeply in the elitist political swamp of money and lobbyists and favors and privilege, that they have become blind to common, everyday ethics and morality. We 'allegedly' send them to Washington to represent all of us, not spend time inserting remarks in the Congressional Record to curry favor with select campaign contributors.
Second, the report about State Senator Deanna Hanna is astonishing in her attitude of entitlement. Read the article and it leaps off the page. She actually uses the word "reparations" to justify her demand that the Jefferson County Realtors Association contibute as much to her as it did to her opponent. Think about that for a second. There's something very odd and wrong here, uh?
But this kind of perversion of right and wrong is what happens when the major political parties become entrenched and interconnected with the big money that runs campaigns. Whether they are Democrats or Republicans, it doesn't seem to matter much anymore, in one form or another they all support the existing system of big money getting "access" and attention. The average voter who doesn't give money to politicians, and who doesn't have the time to volunteer for political campaign hack work, is the now the most marginalized of Americans.
That is why the Green Party stands for REAL REFORM. All the Democrats and Republicans want to do is window dressing reform, in the end they all want the money, money, money, and the power and privilege that comes with elected office these days. Greens want genuine democracy, representation for working Americans as well as wealthy citizens. Take a look at our 2004 Green Party national platform plank on "Democracy" -- Greens offer REAL REFORM. If you want to see a renewed republic dedicated to "liberty and justice for all" ... then register and support Green Party candidates.
The power of civic action is an antidote to the corporate control of so much of our law-making and regulating. The pervasive abuse imposed by corporate power increasingly undermines our democracy, but the Green Party seeks to rekindle the democratic flame. As voting citizens, taxpayers, workers, consumers, and stakeholders, we unite to exercise our rights and, as Thomas Jefferson urged, to counteract the "excesses of the monied interests." Toward this end, we consider serious reform of campaign funding to be essential, as well as curbs on the influence of corporations on lawmakers and regulatory agencies.
For my Congressional campaign, I will not accept any PAC contributions. I will only take donations of $500 or less from individuals. I support public finance of all federal elections -- those elected should only be beholden to ALL of the people. I support lobby reform that does away with ALL gifts, travel, meals, etc., from any special interest group ... if I'm in Congress, they can come and talk to me in the same way that the plumber next door would talk to me. That is REAL REFORM -- and neither Democrats nor radical Republicans are willing to propose that kind of program. Your choice then, to renew the republic, is to support my candidacy and the efforts of the Green Party.
One day in early 2005, eight employees of an Arvada-based defense contractor made campaign contributions to their local congressman, Republican Rep. Bob Beauprez. Three months later, Beauprez praised the company on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. One week after that, the company president gave a small contribution to Beauprez's gubernatorial campaign. ... During the past four years, Rep. Mark Udall, an Eldorado Springs Democrat, has submitted five "extensions of remarks" into the Congressional Record, honoring people who had donated a combined $11,550 to his campaigns. ... Since 2003, eight of the nine members of Colorado's congressional delegation have made speeches or statements for the record about campaign contributors or the companies they lead, according to a review of official records and Federal Elections Commission data by the Rocky Mountain News.
A Lakewood senator peeved that a real estate organization endorsed her Republican opponent in her last election demanded the group pay her $1,400 in "reparations." Sen. Deanna Hanna, a Democrat, said Thursday that she did nothing wrong, but the leader of the Senate Republicans called it "extortion." Hanna said the Jefferson County Realtors Association in 2004 announced it would not endorse any candidate in the Senate race, but the state group then contributed at least $1,400 to her opponent. ... She complained to the political arm of the Association of Realtors, the Realtors Small Donor Committee, and asked for "$1,400 in post-election debt relief . . . in order to set things straight," according to an RSDC letter. The group gave Hanna $400, and in 2005 she demanded the rest. "My reparations request stands," Hanna wrote to the committee. "It is my hope that you will make our relationship whole again. There are going to be some very important issues ahead of us."