Frequently Asked Questions
How do I pass an Anti-Corruption Act in my community?
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What do you mean, “corruption”? Isn’t corruption already illegal?
America’s anti-corruption laws are dangerously out of date. While certain corrupt practices are already illegal, there are many perfectly legal ways to exchange money in return for favorable treatment from politicians. The American Anti-Corruption Act criminalizes “legalized corruption” to ensure that America’s government works for the people.
How is this constitutional? Won’t these new laws just get struck down by the Supreme Court?
The Anti-Corruption Act was written and reviewed by a team of top constitutional attorneys, and crafted with a sharp eye toward avoiding provisions that could be overturned by the courts.
How can an Act that doesn’t run afoul of Citizens United actually change anything? Shouldn’t we amend the Constitution to overturn rulings like Citizens United instead?
While we’re very supportive of efforts to overturn misguided Supreme Court rulings such as Citizens United and McCutcheon, those cases only address very specific aspects of an enormously complex problem. Many other anti-corruption reforms are 100% constitutional, even with the current Supreme Court. Everything from lobbying to disclosure to ethics, enforcement, and citizen funding — All reforms outlined by the Anti-Corruption Act.
There has always been money in politics. What’s the point of passing new rules when money always seems to find a way in?
While certain bad actors will always be willing to trade on their elected positions for personal gain, that does not mean they should not be held accountable for their actions. Our government should be held to the highest standard, and our anti-corruption laws must evolve to meet new corruption risks wherever and whenever they emerge.
Don’t laws like this limit free speech?
Absolutely not. The American Anti-Corruption Act is designed to prevent corruption and cronyism without limiting political speech. In fact, the citizen funding system established by the Anti-Corruption Act makes it possible for every voter to support candidates who actually represent their interests — That means more political speech, not less.
How can we expect legislators to pass laws reining in a system that got them elected and provides them with so many nice perks? Isn’t that asking the fox to put a lock on the henhouse?
Thankfully, we don’t have to wait around for Congress to act. There are 27 states and thousands of cities where we can use the ballot initiative process to bypass local legislatures and put tough, new anti-corruption laws directly to a public vote. As recent progress on issues ranging from marijuana legalization to marriage equality has shown, focusing on state and local wins helps redraw the national political map and builds major momentum for national reform. Learn more about our national political strategy.
This sounds expensive to implement. Won’t this create an enormous burden for taxpayers?
No. Anti-Corruption Acts prevent government cronyism and waste, which will save taxpayers far more than the modest costs of implementing new laws. Politicians at the state, local, and federal level routinely hand out lucrative government contracts and sweetheart deals to their financial backers. Anti-Corruption Acts criminalize such behavior, saving taxpayers millions.
Who wrote the American Anti-Corruption Act?
The Act was crafted by former Federal Election Commission chairman Trevor Potter in consultation with dozens of strategists, democracy reform leaders and constitutional attorneys from across the political spectrum. Local Anti-Corruption Acts are crafted in consultation with local political and legal experts to ensure they meet the specific needs of each individual community.
Why not just try to pass each provision separately? Wouldn’t that be easier?
Modern political corruption is an enormously complex problem that calls for a comprehensive solution. Passing reform piecemeal leaves too many avenues for money to corrupt the lawmaking process. Our polling has also found that the individual provisions of the Act are more popular when combined into one Anti-Corruption Act than they are alone. By combining multiple provisions into one comprehensive reform package, we both comprehensively address the problem and make victory at the ballot box more likely.
Why pass city and state laws? Let’s just go straight to Washington.
Focusing on city and state initiatives is both good policy and good politics. In policy terms, many state and local laws are even more out of date than federal law and in significant need of reform. In political terms, current congressional leaders, both Democrat and Republican, are unlikely to advance the reforms outlined in the Anti-Corruption Act without carving out significant loopholes for themselves and their parties (if they advance it at all). By using a local ballot initiative strategy, we can both redraw the political map on this issue and make it easier to elect new members of Congress who will support real reform. Learn more about our national political strategy.
Who paid for the American Anti-Corruption Act? Who is paying for the campaign to pass it?
RepresentUs is building a movement to pass Anti-Corruption Acts at the city, state, and federal level. We are a not-for-profit entity funded by donations from our supporters, as well as grants from philanthropic organizations. A full list of our funders can be found here.