October 10, 2018 Press Releases


Casten Joins Challengers Across the Country In Calling for Election Reform and Getting Special Interest Money Out of Politics

(Downers Grove, IL) October 10, 2018 –  As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Illinois Sixth District Candidate for Congress Sean Casten joined a coalition of 107 House challengers to call on Congress to make a government and election reform bill the first item on the agenda for the next Congress in 2019.

“I’m running for Congress to get money out of politics, and to advocate for those without a voice in Washington – individuals who don’t buy access to politicians,” said Casten. “Until the distorting effect of money is removed from politics, we will fail to achieve the kind of meaningful and sensible reforms that are needed and supported by a large majority of Americans. This is true on everything from gun control to health care to Wall Street and tax reform.”

“Peter Roskam passed a tax scam that gives 83% of it’s benefits to corporate special interests and the ultra-wealthy. Now, they’re returning the favor,” Casten continued. “That dynamic needs to change, and that’s why we need election and campaign finance reform now.”

Unlike Peter Roskam’s candidacy which is fueled by big oil and corporate special interests, Sean Casten’s campaign is driven by over 79,000 individual contributors.

“The American people know that Washington isn’t working for them. They want candidates who will unrig the system and put the people ahead of mega donors and special interests,” said End Citizens United President Tiffany Muller. “Sean Casten and the rest of the candidates on this letter are serious about reform. They’re sending a strong message to Washington, that when they’re elected, things will be different. End Citizens United is proud to have endorsed Sean Casten, and we look forward to working with him to help pass meaningful reforms that clear the way for Congress to do the people’s business.”

Key elements of the reform bill would include: Reforming the role of money in politics to ensure more transparency and accountability in elections, eliminating foreign money from our political system, limiting the undue influence of mega donors and special interests, and incentivizing small dollar donors; as well as lobbying reform, ethics reform, redistricting reform, and voting rights protections.

The letter to Congress comes amid a series of high-profile scandals that are shining light on the culture of corruption in Washington and exacerbating voter cynicism at a time when faith in government is already at a historic low. A bipartisan poll conducted by the George W. Bush Institute, the University of Pennsylvania’s Biden Center and Freedom House shows that money in politics is one of the top reasons people believe the government does not represent them.

Below is the full text of the letter:

Members of the 115th Congress

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515

Dear Members of the 115th Congress:

American confidence in our government is at an all-time low. Accountability in our politics is in woefully short supply. Perhaps most concerning of all, a majority of the American people – once relentlessly optimistic and hopeful about the future – are now as likely to conclude America’s most prosperous and productive days are behind us.

We decided to run for Congress because we know America’s best days are still ahead, but confidence in our government and democracy must be restored. To do so, we must all acknowledge the corrosive role money and special interests have played in shaking the American people’s faith in the system.

This is why we write to you today: to put Congress on notice. We are determined to reform the system and spark this restoration of American confidence should we be given the humble honor of serving our respective districts in the United States Congress.

We share the American people’s impatience and frustration over the lack of reforms and transparency and the role of money in our politics. We hear day in and day out that special interests are drowning out the voices of everyday citizens – to the point where many Americans no longer believe their votes even count.

Restoring faith in our elections and in the integrity of our elected officials should be a top priority that all members of Congress can agree upon. Without these reforms we will be unable to truly regain the public trust or tackle the challenges of our day, like the costs of health care

and prescription drugs, the opioid epidemic, or building an economy that is strong for working families.

For those reasons, these reforms must be sweeping, and they must be bold. They must be the very first item Congress addresses. We must not yield on this demand, the American public is counting on us.

We are committed to:

  • limiting the influence of big donors on campaigns, quashing the political influence, real or perceived, special interests currently have in our government and providing incentives for donors to make small contributions to federal candidates;

  • finally requiring genuine accountability through disclosure of all political spending and ensuring foreign money has no way of influencing our elections;

  • shutting the revolving door between elected officials and the professional, special-interest lobbying industry;

  • strengthening congressional ethics laws and their enforcement, including the adoption of harsher penalties for breaking the law and betraying the public trust;

  • ending the imbalanced and divisive practice of political gerrymandering that currently allows the undemocratic practice of politicians picking their voters, rather than ensuring that voters pick their representatives; and

  • removing, once and for all, the deliberate and partisan barriers that prohibit millions of Americans from freely and fairly exercising their right to vote.

If the American people do elect a Democratic majority this November, we must heed their call to finally and categorically change the way Washington works.

Our system is badly broken, our institutions are at the brink and our democracy is demonstrably at risk. However, to us, America remains the “shining city upon a hill,” and should it be the will of the American people this November, we will commit ourselves to strengthening that city and restoring the faith of the American people in our great country and its political system.