In a recent op-ed for The Fulcrum, American Promise Board Chair John Wass lays out key reasons why Republican lawmakers should support the 28th Amendment to get big money out of politics. Currently, only one Republican member of Congress has publicly supported 28th Amendment legislation: Congressman John Katko, who represents New York’s 24th District. At the grassroots, however, Republican voters overwhelmingly support an amendment that would enable Congress to rein in election spending by corporations, unions, political parties and Super PACs.
“The idea of limiting big money in politics is actually a bedrock conservative principle, supported by a significant majority of conservative voters,” Wass writes. “‘Draining the swamp’ was among the driving forces that led to President Trump’s election. ‘Cronyism’ has been a concern of conservative voters for decades, and Milton Friedman himself sounded the alarm over a system where businesses compete by seeking government favors. And many former Republican elected officials publicly support a 28th Amendment.”
Wass says support for free market capitalism has been ticking downward, as Americans begin to see the system as corrupt. With corporations spending vast sums of money on local, state and federal elections, it often appears politicians are trading political favors with corporations for electoral support, he says, while policies benefiting large, multinational corporations drive down competition and innovation in the marketplace.
And if these reasons are not enough to build Republican lawmakers’ support for the amendment, Wass provides one more: Democrats are starting to win the big money game. While Republicans dominated the system of pay-to-play politics in the immediate aftermath of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, in 2018 liberal dark money groups outspent conservative ones and helped swing elections.
Cross-partisan support for the 28th Amendment is growing at the grassroots, as 20 states and more than 800 towns have passed resolutions calling for the amendment. Now, it is up to Republican and Democratic lawmakers to listen to their constituents, reach across the aisle, pass the amendment and send it to the states.