Politics

Congressman Blasts Influence Of Money In Politics

| by Ray Brown

A South Florida congressman has once again called for a constitutional amendment to limit the influence of money in politics.

"Free speech is not free if only the wealthy can afford it," said Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida, according to the Sun-Sentinel. "A democracy for sale is not a democracy at all."

Speaking at a town hall in his district, which encompasses the parts of the Florida counties of Broward and Palm Beach, Deutch blasted "special interests" that have seemingly unlimited power over those in political office.

"These powerful special interests can come into a race and spend against any candidate who steps out of line," Deutch said. "Big money can come into any campaign and squash any candidate who has the good sense, for example, to say climate change is real."

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Deutch's message was approved by local residents who agree that the power of money in politics has spun out of control.

"People have gotten sick of money in politics," said South Florida resident Elsa Labonski.

This isn't the first time Deutch has called to limit money in politics.

In 2011, as a response to the "Occupy" movement around the country protesting the country's government and financial sector, including big banks and investment firms like Goldman Sachs, Deutch introduced the "OCCUPIED" amendment, which would have limited the amount of money corporations could donate to politicians.

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The bill would have effectively overturned the Supreme Court's controversial Citizens United decision, which has made it possible for politicians and parties to receive unlimited amounts of money from corporate interests through political action committees.

"No matter how long protesters camp out across America, big banks will continue to pour money into shadow groups promoting candidates more likely to slash Medicaid for poor children than help families facing foreclosure," Deutch said at the time. "No matter how strongly Ohio families fight for basic fairness for workers, the Koch Brothers will continue to pour millions into campaigns aimed at protecting the wealthiest 1 percent. No matter how fed up seniors in South Florida are with an agenda that puts oil subsidies ahead of Social Security and Medicare, corporations will continue to fund massive publicity campaigns and malicious attack ads against the public interest. Americans of all stripes agree that for far too long, corporations have occupied Washington and drowned out the voices of the people."

According to GovTrack, the bill was introduced on Nov. 18, 2011, but failed to pass Congress, despite Democrats having control of the House at that time.

Sources: Sun-Sentinel, Rep. Ted Deutch, GovTrack / Photo Credit: Cliff/Flickr

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