If there's one reason for leaving that both Senators Voinovich and Bayh – and ourselves in our time – share in common, it's money. Congress is stuck in the mud of strident partisanship, excessive ideology, never-ending campaigns, and – at the heart of it all – a corrosive system of private campaign funding and the constant fundraising it demands.
We predict the recent Supreme Court ruling to permit unlimited corporate and union spending on campaign ads will only make matters worse.
For years, big money has quietly undermined the integrity of our representative government.
Members of Congress now report spending a third of their time or more raising money for their next campaign, most of it coming from out-of-state interests instead of their own constituents.
Wealthy contributors, in turn, expect – and too often receive – a return on their investment in the form of earmarks and legislative favors.
And while we do not believe that most members of Congress are corrupt, few can deny that the appearance of corruption has dramatically undermined the public's trust in government.
To help bring statesmanship back to Washington, it's time we put an end to the race for campaign cash and the countless compromises it demands.
The best way to fundamentally change the dysfunctional dynamic in Washington is to restore political purchasing power to the American people by incentivizing broad-based small donations from ordinary constituents through matching federal funds.
By providing qualified candidates a way out of the chase for big special- interest money, such a program would make citizens the true stakeholders in our government.