“Rotten to the Core”
Our system of paying for political campaigns is “rotten to the core”, says Bob Phillips of Common Cause NC, a leading clean government watchdog. In a recent Indyweek article, Phillips said “We need a better way … to eliminate the influence of big money contributions.” Likewise, Bob Hall, the co-founder of Democracy NC, has called the corrupt self-dealing in Raleigh politics “deplorable” and “a con job”.
Both Hall and Phillips agree that the Citizens United decision makes eliminating the corrupting influence of big money all but impossible. “All that citizens can do right now”, says Phillips, “is to … demand that the people who are running adhere to something better. That would maybe mean that a candidate pledges not to take PAC money, and pledges to call for a cease and desist of any funds that are being spent on their behalf—either to support their campaign, or to denounce their opponent.”
All that citizens can do right now is to demand that the people who are running adhere to something better.
Clean Council Pledge
Having documented the revolving door of City Council favors in return for campaign cash, Livable Raleigh wholeheartedly agrees with Hall and Phillips: Council candidates should be challenged to take a Clean Council Pledge.
Here are two likely elements of a Clean Council Pledge for Raleigh City Council:
1. No Conflicted Donations – reject or return donations from anyone who has profited or will profit from your rezoning or text change votes during your current or future council term.
2. Reject & Condemn Outside Spending – including corporations & PACs, either on your behalf or against your opponents.
We look forward to your comments on ways to improve this Clean Council Pledge. Please send your thoughts to LivableRaleigh@gmail.com. Your comments will be considered confidential unless you indicate otherwise.