In Contempt of Constituency
The honest politician law
We pay the salaries of our elected representatives. They are, or should, be contractually obligated to be honest with the citizens that they are hired to represent. What boss or business owner would tolerate an employee that routinely lied to and mislead them? So why is it okay, why isn't it an offense worthy of termination of position for politicians to lie to us?
We could be sentenced to prison for lying in a court of law or for lying during a congressional hearing. So why is it legal for our representatives to knowingly and blatantly lie to the American people? We suspect it is obvious to most that something needs to be done about this gross injustice. Passing legislation to make it a crime for elected representatives to knowingly lie to the public would profoundly improve the integrity of our political system. Unfortunately Congress decides what becomes law and you can safely bet your life savings that they will never pass such legislation because lying to the public is the norm for way too many of them. So what can we do?
There are presently some efforts to implement legislative reforms that are designed to "work around" congress, or to create reforms from the ground up starting at municipal and county levels and then to state levels and thereby creating momentum to then enact reforms at the federal level.
Represent.us is promoting The American Anti-Corruption Act which works to; remove dark money from the election/campaign system, ban lobbying (legalized bribery of public officials) and close the revolving doors between industries and state. This is an effort well worth supporting and they are relatively new on the scene, so check them out and help them out.
Move To Amend is an organization that seeks to create a Constitutional Amendment to overturn the Buckley v Valeo and Citizens United Rulings that effectively legislated from the bench that spending money on political campaigns was a form of free speech protected by the First Amendment. It also seeks to overturn the doctrine of corporate personhood created by the judiciary that gives Bill of Rights protections create for people to legal constructs/corporations. This is another organization and effort well worth supporting. This is an older organization and has considerable success at the municipal level. Continued effort may create success at the state level.
The aforementioned organizations are aiming high for sure. A contempt of constituency effort could follow the same model and is, perhaps, less ambitious on the surface. The simplicity of a contempt of constituency law may be its greatest strength. It's easy to understand and who isn't tired of lying politicians?
Perhaps we should steal a page out of Grover Norquist's playbook. Grover is the front man for for a faction of oligarchs who have all too successfully utilized a no new tax pledge to vet republicon candidates. Candidates who take the pledge get ample funding from wealthy special interests and those who don't are highly unlikely to win a race fueled by money.
Democrats, particularly the Progressive Caucus, could utilize a contempt of constituency pledge to vet democratic candidates. Those that pledge to support and promote such legislation will win the support of populists. We need to petition progressive representatives to introduce a bill in Congress. We can easily predict that there will be no support, only opposition from Republicans for such a proposal, but that's okay. The record will clearly show who promotes honesty from our elected officials and those who are in favor of deceiving the American public.
When enough people push for this type of legislation, it will become the responsibility of the public and the media to question all candidates for public office whether they support a contempt of constituency law or oppose honesty and integrity in our political body.