2008 will be a change election. The presumptive nomination of Barack Obama is ample evidence to the entire world that genuine and long lasting change is underway. Even John McCain is trying to claim the winds of change by going back to his "maverick" image of 2000. That is certainly a bit of chicken scratch for a man who has supported Bush 97% of the time.
Change is also afoot in the Congressional halls of power. It is bipartisan. It promises fundamental change and reform in the way government "of the people, by the people, for the people" works. At the center of that change is Change Congress, a bipartisan organization committed to ending the corrupting influence of money in Washington, D.C. Change Congress has four straightforward principles:
- Accept no money from PACs or lobbyists.
- End earmarks.
- Increase congressional transparency.
- Support public financing of campaigns.
In the 6th Congressional District of Virginia, one candidate, Sam Rasoul, is totally committed to the principles of Change Congress. Sam is refusing all contributions, however small, from political action committees and lobbyists. By contrast, his opponent Bob Goodlatte, in 2008, has received 43% ($210,762) from lobbyists and PACs. What is it about "government of the people, by the people, for the people" that this entrenched incumbent Washington insider does not understand.
Sam is so committed to the principle of transparency in contributions to candidates that he is even refusing contributions from local Democratic committees. His position is not readily understood by local Democratic leaders and activists who have worked to raise money to support the party's nominees. But, Sam's rationale is simple: no individual should donate the maximum of $2,300 under federal law and then be able to donate more by funneling other money through a PAC or even through a local committee because isn't transparent and it opens the potential of political corruption due to the influence of money.
A principled stand by a principled man. Sam Rasoul deserves our support in his quest to Change Congress and to bring true representation to the people of the 6th District.
To learn more about Change Congress and the man behind it, Lawrence Lessig, peck around in this excellent article in The Nation, "Mr. Lessig Goes to Washington."
h/t to Cobalt6