Former Gov. Huntsman Joins GOPers Criticizing Huge Donors in U.S. Politics
Jon Huntsman, the former Governor of Utah and a 2012 GOP presidential primary candidate, joined the growing chorus of Republicans criticizing the role of money in American politics. Huntsman sees great leaders disappearing as donors force politicians to put party above country. His remarks at a college forum in Florida on today’s divisive political climate included:
It is no longer a feat of public service, or a desire to put your country first, before your party. We kind of strayed from that. And I think that is driven by the professionalization of politics, which has crept up on us over the years. That is then exacerbated by the huge amounts of single source dollars that are flowing into the system. And so you get to Congress and, not unsurprisingly, you pick a team. First you are elected on a team. You are funded by all the predictable sources, you are given all the predictable talking points. You win your election and you got a team. So it isn’t the name on the jersey that matters anymore; it’s the color of the jersey.
In the past few days, conservatives voiced concerns about the growing cynicism among voters and elected officials’ abilities to remain independent of out-of-district billionaires. On Monday, Missouri State Senator Rob Schaaf (R-St. Joseph) wrote an op-ed on his legislation to curb lobbyist gift-giving and empower small donors. Today, John Pudner, on Fox News, argued for solutions such as a tax credit for small donors. Pudner managed Congressman David Brat’s campaign, which ousted Republican House Majority leader Eric Cantor partly because of his ties to special interests.
Republicans taking a stand against big money in politics is a step in the right direction for everyone. The success of real campaign finance reform will require both Democrats and Republicans coming together. And when candidates can be truly independent of private donors, small donor democracy receives overwhelming bipartisan support. All Americans win when both parties are independent of big money.