Even in this time of highly polarized and partisan politics in New Jersey and around the country, most Americans agree on one thing-that big money has corrupted our democracy.

Polls indicate that more than Americans nationwide believe it's important that elected leaders reduce the influence of money and corruption in political elections.

Bipartisan support exists for reducing the influence of big money, lobbyists, Wall Street and corporations on Washington.

The corruption I'm talking about is the legalized bribery that now defines American politics. With $7 billion spent on the 2012 federal election campaigns, politicians are forced to spend more time chasing cash, meeting with lobbyists, and attending fundraisers than actually legislating.

And when they do find time to legislate, what favors are they doing for the big donors and lobbyists?

Who's working for the interests of the average American who can't afford to make large donations or hire lobbyists?  Voters also support the proposed American Anti-Corruption Act, which would rein in special  interest lobbyists, end secret contributions, and make millions of small donors more important than a few big ones. This ambitious act was developed by the nonpartisan group Represent.Us.

A more modest but much-needed act effort for campaign finance reform was just introduced in the House by Congressman John Sarbanes, D-Md., the Government By the People Act, H.R. 20. Citizens can sign on as co-sponsors for one or both of these acts to help spur Congress into action.


--- Tony Giordano, Howell, NJ

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