Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

There are only a few days left in our critical Mid-Year Campaign and we truly might not make it without your help.
Please join us. If you rely on independent media, support Common Dreams today. This is crunch time. We need you now.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

The system is broken in numerous ways, and only through bold leadership and strong practical systemic reforms can we begin to repair our democracy, and make it again something that Americans believe in and depend on," Lisa Gilbert, Public Citizen's vice president of legislative affairs, said in a statement. (Photo: Peoples World/Flickr/cc)

'A Good Start': Democrats' Anti-Corruption Proposals Applauded as Actual Plan to Drain the Swamp

"We need this package—all of it—to unrig a political system that is working for corporations and the superrich."

Jake Johnson

In what dozens of progressive groups hailed as a good first step toward eradicating the rampant corruption that has infected both major political parties and flourished under President Donald Trump, congressional Democrats on Monday rolled out a series of pro-democracy proposals aimed at enhancing voting rights, curbing the influence of corporate lobbyists, and "ending the scourge of unaccountable 'dark money' unleashed by Citizens United."

"The American people did not vote to allow government officials to get rich by selling access to government to the highest bidders."
—Lisa Gilbert, Public Citizen

"President Donald Trump is battering at the foundation of our democracy, but that foundation was eroded badly long before Trump's election," Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen said in a statement endorsing the proposals on Monday. "We need a full-fledged democracy rescue program, which is exactly what the 'Better Deal for Our Democracy' provides. We need this package—all of it—to unrig a political system that is working for corporations and the super-rich."

Officially unveiled during a press conference on Monday by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), and other Democratic lawmakers, the "Better Deal for Our Democracy"—just one plank of the Democratic Party's broader 2018 platform—aims to:

  • "Empower the American voter" by restoring protections gutted by the GOP in recent years and putting an end to partisan gerrymandering;
  • "Strengthen our nation's ethics laws" by barring deep-pocketed lobbyists from "attempting to trade campaign cash for access and influence"; and
  • "Fix our broken campaign finance system" by overturning Citizens United and increasing the power of small donors.

Applauding the Democratic Party's proposed solutions as a "good start" toward confronting the widespread "abuse of a lax campaign finance system" and actually draining the "swamp" of corruption that Trump has only made worse, Patriotic Millionaires chair Morris Pearl argued that the fact "these proposals are even necessary shows just how low the standards for moral authority in Washington have sunk in the last two years."

"The American people did not vote to allow government officials to get rich by selling access to government to the highest bidders."
—Morris Pearl, Patriotic Millionaires

"The American people did not vote to allow government officials to get rich by selling access to government to the highest bidders," Pearl said.

The Democrats' slate of proposals come as polling data continues to show that Americans strongly support robust campaign finance reform efforts to curb the influence of the "few big interests" that dictate government policy.

They also come as the Trump administration's open corruption—with budget chief Mick Mulvaney serving as just one of many egregious exampleshas called attention to "pay-for-play" norms that have dominated Washington for decades.

"The system is broken in numerous ways, and only through bold leadership and strong practical systemic reforms can we begin to repair our democracy, and make it again something that Americans believe in and depend on," Lisa Gilbert, Public Citizen's vice president of legislative affairs, said in a statement. "If this package passes, cronyism, corruption, and far too much special interest money in our system will no longer be the norm."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just a few days left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

'Lunacy': Democrats Risk Running Out of Time to Confirm Federal Judges

"Democrats aren't filling open seats right now in federal district courts because, for unfathomable reasons, they are letting red state senators block nominees," said one critic.

Julia Conley ·


Citing Death of Roe, Alabama Urges Judge to Reinstate Trans Care Ban

GOP officials are already weaponizing the Supreme Court's abortion ruling to attack other rights they argue are not "deeply rooted in our nation's history and tradition."

Kenny Stancil ·


Flint Residents 'Disgusted' After Court Throws Out Indictments of Top Officials

"It has become increasingly clear that the judicial system is not a viable option for a poor majority Black community facing injustice," said Flint Rising.

Jessica Corbett ·


Sanders, Fetterman Urge Buttigieg to Fine Airlines Over Flight Cancellations

"The American people are sick of airlines ripping them off, canceling flights at the last minute, and delaying flights for hours on end," said the Vermont senator.

Jake Johnson ·


In Blow to Voting Rights, SCOTUS Saves Louisiana's Racially Rigged Electoral Map

"Black Louisianans deserve fair representation. The fight for racial justice and equality is far from over," vowed one civil rights group.

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo