We must elect lawmakers who will stand against corruption, regardless of party

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To the Editor:

Clean Money Squad PA (CMS-PA) has a simple mission: to identify candidates for elected office in Pennsylvania that are committed to reform government and politics in Pennsylvania. CMS-PA was formed by members of Represent NEPA, a local chapter of the national nonpartisan group Represent.Us, who realized that voters don't always have information they need to choose a candidate.

The citizens of our state are fed up with politics as usual. Many have just given up, and feel that they can do little to change our broken system. We aim to change that.

We need to fix our broken system. But how? We know our current elected officials won't do it. We the people need to take things into our own hands, and CMS-PA's job is to tell voters which candidates will commit to fight corruption and reform our government.

Over the course of the next months, leading up to the 2018 election, CMS-PA is contacting candidates for US Senate and House of Representatives, state legislative, judicial and executive offices, all the way down to local, municipal and school board offices throughout Pennsylvania and asking the candidates to formally endorse the American Anti-Corruption Act (AACA). By providing this information to voters, they can make a more informed vote.

The American Anti-Corruption Act is comprehensive model legislation that addresses political bribery, secret money, lobbying, gerrymandering, election reform, and seeks to give every voter a voice in their government. Other provisions include closing the “revolving door,” and limiting contributions from Super PACs. The AACA was crafted by former Federal Election Commission Chairman Trevor Potter in consultation with dozens of strategists, democracy reform leaders and constitutional attorneys from across the political spectrum.

Every candidate that formally endorses the AACA will be included on the CMS-PA website and Facebook page along with their picture and contact information. CMS-PA will also inform the media across the state of the endorsing candidates. The CMS-PA effort is non-partisan and encourages all candidates to formally pledge their support of the AACA. Publication of candidates names who pledge to support the AACA is not a political endorsement of any candidate, it is an acknowledgment that a candidate has committed to support anti-corruption reform.

Corruption is a threat in Pennsylvania; the independent State Integrity Investigation ranks Pennsylvania a dismal 45 out of 50, receiving an “F” grade, citing “An entrenched culture of malfeasance,” and no limits on lobbying, campaign finance, gerrymandering and lax oversight as major factors.

The grassroots citizen reform movement is growing in Pennsylvania. CMS-PA is an important outgrowth of Represent Us Chapters in the state. The volunteers at CMS-PA network with other nonpartisan state reform organizations including Fair Districts, March on Harrisburg, Commonwealth Commonsense and Lancaster Stands Up. Represent NEPA has helped pass anti-corruption resolutions in Wilkes-Barre, Pittston, Luzerne County, South Abington Township and assisted Fair Districts to pass gerrymandering reform resolutions in Luzerne County, Hazleton, Benton Township, Kingston Township, Wyoming County and other communities in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Now we have to vote in lawmakers who will take a stand against corruption, regardless of party. Our elected officials should have the well-being of every citizen, not just a few donors and special interests in mind when they are working for us in our communities, in Harrisburg and in Washington.

Clean Money Squad PA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)4 organization incorporated in Pennsylvania. If you would like to contribute to CMS-PA's efforts, please contact cleanmoneysquadpa@gmail.com.

Peter Ouellette, Managing Director

Clean Money Squad PA

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