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Washington needs more people like Senator Warren Rudman (+video)

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Taking a page from the maverick Republican President Theodore Roosevelt, Rudman devoted a portion of his final years to challenging the Washington power establishment – and especially his own party – to pass campaign finance reform. Writing in The Washington Post in 2010, he cited decades of Republican leadership on reform, beginning with Roosevelt's own claim in 1904 that “contributions by corporations…for any political purpose should be forbidden by law,” and called on his fellow Republicans to “return to our roots [and] enact the only real and lasting solution I know: citizen-funded elections.”

He was not afraid to chide his party for the appearance, and sometimes the fact, of siding with moneyed interests – a position he claimed the Supreme Court had already taken in Citizens United – instead of with the American people. Indeed, the former New Hampshire Attorney General challenged the very notion of corporate-funded political speech that Republicans had largely accepted: “Supreme Court opinion notwithstanding, corporations are not defined as people under the Constitution, and free speech can hardly be called free when only the rich are heard.”

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