Is ethical consistency too much to ask from Vermont’s US Senate candidates?
Senator Leahy is living two lives. In one, he preaches campaign finance reform, laments the US Supreme Court decision in Citizens United vs. FEC, and critiques Afghan government corruption. Regarding Citizens United, he (correctly) stated, the decision “Creates new rights for Wall Street at the expense of Main Street” (01/28/10). Regarding Afghanistan, he (correctly) stated “The corruption level in Afghanistan is extraordinary” (8/24/10).
But in the other hand, he has accepted more than $1.5 million in campaign contributions from Political Action Committees, mostly from corporations? The full truth is that Citizens United, Afghan corruption, and acceptance of Special Interests money by American politicians (e.g., Leahy), all lead to impaired objectivity and conflicts of interest by elected representatives. As the senator plays the game, who is he to criticize?
Senator Leahy should acknowledge he has joined the “dark side” and stop complaining about corruption; after all, he has joined the American game of legal corruption. Or he should come back from the “dark side” and stop taking special interests money whether required by law or not. He can’t have it both ways. It is called honor and personal responsibility. I implore the senator to utilize his power and prestige to lead, combat apathy and cynicism, and strengthen American representative democracy.
I commend the initial efforts by the Republican candidate, Len Britton. He decried the taking of special interests money until the primary. But pressure to do everything he can to win apparently caught up with him. According to the Burlington Free Press (8/24/10), “He (Britton) said rejecting PAC donations was ‘a political outsider’s mistake’.” Len, please return from the “dark side” before it is too late and you are tainted and become a political insider.
The hypocrisy and inconsistency of Vermont’s major party US Senate candidates are typical of politicians nowadays so I’m not surprised. They think they need special interests money to win but it’s a want not a need. We have to stop giving them a pass and take back Congress. America’s middle class, democracy, economy, and future can’t wait. Nor can the planet.
I remain committed to ethical values of a Vermont political revolution: term limits, no special interests money, and country ahead of party.
Candidate for US Senate, Independent