May 14, 2012

Meet Three Congressional Primary Candidates Running Against Corruption

Americans everywhere are waking up to the corrupting influence of Big Money on our democratic form of government. Activists are holding rallies, signing petitions, getting city resolutions passed against Citizens United, and taking part in other activities designed to push for major reforms to our system.

But that’s not the only way Americans are challenging our special interest-dominated system. Across the country, a number of congressional candidates are running in primaries based largely on the fact that they oppose Big Money. Here’s three particularly outspoken primary candidates, Democrats and Republicans, who are running against corruption:

1. Eric Griego (New Mexico): Griego, a state legislator, is running in the Democratic congressional primary for the open seat in the Albuquerque area of New Mexico. He backs a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United decision and has made a personal commitment that he will not become a lobbyist after leaving office. Additionally, he has promised that if any of his staff leave to become lobbyists, they will not be allowed to lobby his office. Finally, he supports public financing of elections as a way to combat the influence of Big Money. Primary election day is June 5th in New Mexico.


2. Bruce Shuttleworth (Virginia): Shuttleworth is a former Navy fighter pilot running in Virginia’s 8th congressional district against Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA). He supports strengthening the STOCK Act to battle congressional insider trading and curtailing the use of earmarks to award taxpayer funds to major donors, an important issue in the Arlington, Virginia area — one of the hubs of the military-industrial complex. The primary is on June 12th.




3. Kenneth Wegner (Nevada): Wegner is running for the state’s new 4th congressional district seat. A conservative Republican and military veteran, Wegner feels that the only way to limit government and make sure it works for the people is to reject Big Money and special interests. He has pledged to support “legislation designed to limit the ability of special interest groups, lobbyists and corporations to donate money to those running for office,” and is going even further, saying that he will not accept any money from Political Action Committees or lobbyists while running for office. He also backs term limits for members of Congress and is a strong opponent of corporate-written trade agreements.


We applaud these primary candidates for bringing the issue of Big Money’s corruption of our politics into the elections in which they are running. We hope that no matter who wins these elections, the lawmakers who enter Congress next year take the issue of corruption seriously.


  • Drayden

    Congressman John Sarbanes should be included here. Have you heard about his Grassroots Donor initiative? He has devoted his campaign to building a grassroots donor network modeled after the Fair Elections Now Act:

    • Zaid Jilani

      I wanted to make this post about challengers trying to enter Congress but there is definitely room to talk about reformers in the current Congress in the future!

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  • Andy Foote

    Zaid, thanks for the research. Donated to a couple. If it aligns with your charter, you should post links to their “Donate” pages, in a way that would allow them to track money from republicreport.

  • suzani

    This looks good, sounds good but the problem is Washington and the corruption that abounds there. How difficult it must be to keep your head above the muck when surrounded by so many people who wheel and deal and operate in an arena where morality has no meaning! Paul Ryan was probably a nice, relatively normal guy, before he got to Washington. So: YES! Money has to go. And probably most of those like Ryan who have been corrupted by it should be shown the exit door so a new breed of congressional representative can be nurtured in a re-imagined, unpolluted environment. A few, like Bernie Sanders, who seem to have resisted the call to get rich on the taxpayer dime will hopefully be given the opportunity to mentor a new generation of honest, decent selfless (as opposed to self-serving) Congressional representatives. Am I dreaming???

    • CatKinNY

      About Paul Ryan ever being a nice, normal guy? Yeah, you’re dreaming. Like many of his ilk, he fell in love with Ayn Rand, and her philosophy of Enlightened Selfishness in high school, and it’s beginning to come back and haunt him. Those same conservative Catholic Bishops he was standing proudly with two months ago when they were attacking Obama have said his budget contradicts church teachings about the poor; there is talk about denying him Communion at mass. The Pope has condemned Ayn Rand for the evil she championed. I would not be surprised if their was Excommunication in his future, and that will really hurt him with the kinds of idiots who vote for him.

      • suzani

        I have written about Paul Ryan that he has “pink slime” for a brain — so I understand where you’re coming from… I was trying to be nice — and hopeful. But it’s the Paul Ryan types in Washington who drive up the concern… How much do you think he was worth before he arrived on the Washington scene? We are electing these people so they can get rich at our expense and then turn around and say to us: “Oh, sorry. No medical care for you, no social security, no pension, no benefits. We’ve got wars to fight and you’re just not a priority…” Yes, I think people who are hooked on Ayn Rand display extremely juvenile thought processes — but the great oracle, or so we were led to believe, was in that crowd, too (i.e. Greenspan). But that’s a whole other issue — how the wool was pulled over our eyes about Greenspan for years and years and years — read what Matt Tabibi (spelling?) has to say about that one!

        • CatKinNY

          I avail myself of any opportunity that presents itself to dump on Paul Ryan. He looks like such a nice young man; as an Irish Catholic, he fills me with disgust and shame (as has my church for years), so I quite enjoy watching the heirarchy starting to gather round him with the purpose of strangling his career in its cradle. The cult of Ayn Rand is the oddest thing, isn’t it? All these family values, deeply religious Republicans worshipping an atheist who made her husband tolerate her live-in younger lover for years, a speed freak who blew a fortune on drugs and booze and died completely dependent on Social Security and Medicaire! Ryan wants to kill the very programs that kept his idol alive; must be something oedipal there.

  • Is it reasonable for a citizen, who wishes to see a constitutional amendment passed to remedy Citizens United, to support a candidate who does not state a position on this matter on the “Issues” page of their website?

    For me, the failure to post a statement indicates that the candidate either does not think the issue is important enough to mention or is already intimidated by those who benefit from the Citizens United ruling. Either way, these politicians are of little value to us in this struggle. On the other hand, posting a statement of support for an amendment indicates to me that the candidate is one of us and is willing to stand with us now by helping to make the need for an amendment an issue in the election.

    Eric Griego thanks for standing with us!

  • Generictool

    Thank you for covering both died of the isle fairly!

  • Avaritia

    The best of luck to them. What they are doing is commendable in a world where all morality and soul have been lost. But I seriously doubt that they’ll go anywhere or make any strides. Honesty no longer pays in the good ole U$$A.

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  • CatKinNY

    I have donated to Griego several times, and will now donate to Shuttleworth. Anybody else want to do their bit to counter big money?

  • nealbarkett

    It’s so simple but yet it’s so complex. Until we the American people push for new legislation that forbids any lobbyists from giving monies to any politician or party and also getting the supreme court reserving their opinion on corporations being allowed to fund Super Pacs (lobbyists on steroids) in the name of free speech. Corporations are not citizens but now we have a situation where these non living entities have the power to hold the politicians hands over the flame to get what they want. Which dilutes our clout as citizens (follow the dollar signs) That’s the simple part to understand. Now the complex problem. How do we wake up all Americans no matter what party they may or may not be affiliated to, to come together and publicly rebel on the fact that we have dropped from citizens to ponds in a big money and big power grab. Both parties are self serving and we are being moved as citizens further and further to the back of the bus. Politicians take a vow to serve the people. It is meant to be a honor to serve just like our Military people take an oath also to serve our nation. But it has warped into a self serving practice for most politicians who have voted themselves pay raises and pensions that if you know the details would make most people cry. But at least half the people in this country are basically clueless. In the long run we the people deserve what we get. If we can’t take the time to force Congress to come down from their ivory towers and work under the same rules we are forced to live under then our Democracy will eventually have failed. We need to wake up and do our Patriotic duty and force transparency, fairness and re-empower ourselves so we feel and know we do make a difference and remove the cloak of apathy. The middle class either lives in fear or are living in ignorant bliss. We have the power we just don’t utilize it!

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