March 4, 2012

Will Lawmakers Campaigning On Occupy Principles Practice What They Preach On Corporate Fundraising?

Will Lawmakers Campaigning On Occupy Principles Practice What They Preach On Corporate Fundraising?Every week, Republic Report calls attention to the “Sell Out Of The Week,” a feature that highlights politicians and public officials who have sold out their values and become corrupted. Our first week was President Obama for his super PAC reversal, followed by Democratic operative Joe Trippi for working for the regime in Bahrain, and last week, we called out Rick Santorum for hiding his work for a pork lobbying firm after leaving office.

This week, Republic Report’s Zaid Jilani and Suzanne Merkelson approached Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL), a lawmaker who has campaigned for office on a promise to “Occupy” the corporations dominating government. Though Deutch is highlighting an incredibly valid issue, he ducked our questions about why he is working with AT&T lobbyists to raise cash for his campaign. As we noted, Deutch has gone about Congress promoting AT&T’s lobbying agenda, particularly in terms of the proposed merger with T-Mobile, a monopolistic move decried by many.

Watch Deutch talk about his belief in bringing Occupy principles to Congress here (posted on YouTube by the Deutch for Congress account):

Watch Jilani and Merkelson attempt to talk to Deutch this week:

The campaign system, of course, is completely broken and even the most principled candidates must do what they can to fundraise. Some estimates peg the cost of winning a seat in the House of Representatives at $2 million. Deutch should be applauded for raising the issue of corporate personhood and the problem of big businesses corrupting Congress — but he also owes the public an explanation that his donations aren’t influencing his actions in Congress.

Until Deutch explains how he can fundraise with corporations while rejecting their influence, he is our Sell Out Of The Week.

Indeed, many members of Congress are embracing the message of Occupy, but lawmakers must come to grip with how they can pursue the public interest regardless of who gives them money in this current anything-goes campaign finance environment.