Findings by a Chapman University study found that 73.6% of Americans were concerned about corrupt government officials. Proposals by the top polling candidates show a range of policy initiatives, ranging from careful one-line proposals to more granular initiatives.
Elizabeth Warren provides the more granular approach to addressing “corrupt officials.” Specifically, Ms. Warren proposes that all lobbyists must register with the federal government and that foreign governments should be banned from hiring Washington lobbyists. Ms. Warren also addresses Washington’s “revolving door” issue by proposing a prohibition on senators and congressmen becoming lobbyists. And in a nod to requests that President Trump disclose his tax filings, Ms. Warren proposes that every candidate for federal office put their tax returns online.
None of the other top polling Democratic candidates are at parity with Ms. Warren. The closest is Bernie Sanders who proposes that, in addition to overturning Citizens United, super PACs (independent political action committees that may raise unlimited campaign financing funds from corporations and individuals but cannot donate directly to a candidate) be banned. Also, Mr. Sanders proposes replacing corporate funding and donations from millionaires and billionaires with public funding.
Pete Buttigieg also proposes overturning Citizens United. He also proposes implementing a small-donor matching system for federal elections. The hope is that federal funds matched with small donations would help promote and encourage lesser known candidates in federal elections.
Kamala Harris has also jumped on the overturning Citizens United bandwagon and in addition supports disclosure of donations made by “dark-money” interest groups. Political non-profit groups are under no obligation to disclose their donors.
Lastly, Joe Biden has limited his corrupt government officials initiative to simply overturning Citizens United.