Zephyr Teachout Explains the Problem of Big Money in Politics

News and Analysis

One would be hard pressed to find a stronger champion of campaign finance reform than Zephyr Teachout. Running for New York’s 19th Congressional District, Teachout has a background teaching law at Fordham University and has written a book called “Corruption in America.” In a recent video she released on her campaign website, Teachout breaks down how Supreme Court cases like Citizens United have given rise to out-of-control spending in our elections and strengthened the already pervasive revolving door that exists between the halls of Congress and large corporate lobbying firms.

 

Using oversized post-it notes, in true professorial fashion, Teachout explains how the culture of Washington has become completely ensconced in special interest cash, especially money stemming from undisclosed donors. For example in 2006, before the Citizens United ruling, approximately $5 million in “dark money” was spent to influence elections. By 2012 that had gone up to $300 million. In the 2016 cycle it’s already up to over $660 million and rising. Equally troubling is that more than half of super PAC money is coming from just 195 individuals. The trend is clear: without reform, the price of elections in the current pay-to-play political system will only continue to climb.

Zephyr Teachout’s candidacy is grounded in the push to curb the influence of money in politics. Not only has she spent her career studying and raising awareness about this issue, she is also confronting it in her run for Congress. Two conservative billionaires, Robert Mercer and Paul Singer, have each dropped $500,000 into super PACs supporting her opponent John Faso. At one point, Teachout even challenged one of the donors to a one-on-one debate, so that the constituents in her district could hear first-hand from him since he has such an interest in the race. Her invitation was declined.

Given her outstanding commitment to reform and deep understanding of the issue, PFAW’s Voters Alliance PAC is proud to have endorsed Zephyr Teachout for Congress.