It’s Time to Call Money in Politics a Crisis

The ReFormers Caucus is kicking off a new campaign urging everyone—from the Beltway to the Heartland—to call money in politics a crisis.

Why call money in politics a crisis?

Money in politics is not a new problem, but it has gone from a slow burning issue to an out-and-out crisis for a number of reasonsfrom misguided Supreme Court decisions to rapidly increasing economic inequality. Whether you look at the time politicians now spend fundraising or the number of lobbyists in Washington, the problem has only gotten worse. The result is a crisis of the legitimacy of our democracy, and the breakdown of our country’s ability to govern and fix our most pressing problems.

“This much is clear: Our escalating democratic crisis continues not for lack of solutions, but lack of political will,” write former  Amb. Tim Roemer and Gov. Jon Huntsman, members of the ReFormers Caucus.

This “lack of political will” extends beyond even solving money in politics. Congress can’t, or won’t, act on any of the most pressing issues of the day, whether it be inadequate schools, rigged markets, environmental conservation, government waste or our crumbling infrastructure.

This inaction hasn’t gone unnoticed by the public. Eighty-four percent of Americans believe money has too much influence in American political campaigns today, according to a New York Times poll. In the same poll, more than half of respondents said that members of Congress push policies that help their campaign donors “most of the time.”

Money in politics has fostered a deep distrust in the public of the government’s ability to, well, govern. And that is why we have to stop talking about money in politics as a backburner problem, and call it the crisis that it is. Because if we call it a crisis, we have no choice but  to act.