The Clean Politics Act: A Draft Ballot Proposal for States
The political atmosphere in the United States has become so polluted that it is beginning to
choke and stifle our democracy. Political pundits routinely evaluate the prospects of candidates, not according to their qualifications
or experience, but on their ability to raise money and smear their opponents. Achieving high political office has become less
a matter of cream rising to the top than how deep into the mud one is willing to sink.
In virtually every employment situation except
politics, candidates are required to present a clear, factual, and verifiable accounting of qualifications and experiences.
A responsible employer carefully screens and evaluates applicants according to their potential to effectively carry out the
duties and responsibilities of the position. No one who applies for a job is able to design his or her own selection process,
and anyone who presents misleading information is eliminated from consideration.
Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on political
campaigns but very little of the efforts funded with those vast sums actually helps the average voter make clear and intelligent
decisions about who is most qualified to best represent their interests. The stated purpose of political commercials is to
form attitudes about candidates that are immune to discussion and debate. Psychological research shows that negative attitudes
are more resistant to change than positive ones. Manipulation, distortion, and diversion have become the most effective campaign
tactics. Candidates who are most divisive have been more likely to succeed than those who have a passion to unite and inspire
our citizens. It is any wonder why Congress cannot legislate effectively?
People who are most likely to be elected to political office are those
who have or can raise significant amounts of money and are most effective in their efforts to make their opponents look bad.
Those who retain office are often those who are most effective at pleasing special interest lobbyists who provide significant
funding for political campaigns. These abilities have absolutely no relationship to qualities of leadership, debate, planning,
or problem solving required to manage government. Our election process simply makes no sense in terms of selecting the wisest
and most qualified leaders. It is a house of cards built with thousand-dollar bills.
The Clean Politics Act brings to politics the same
procedures and accountability that exist for employees in successful enterprises. Politicians say they work for the people.
It’s time that we become more effective in hiring and supervising our employees.
The Clean Politics Act
Ballot Proposal for States
The purpose of this act is restore fairness, honesty, and accountability to elected
government and to insure that decisions made by public officials elected in the State of _____ represent careful consideration
of the needs and concerns of all citizens.
Every candidate listed on an electoral ballot in the State of _____ must take an oath to tell
the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth in all matters related to politics and governing, from the moment they
file to be listed on the ballot until they complete their term of office. This oath requires that no candidate or office holder
either make, approve, or endorse statements or advertisements that mislead or misrepresent what is known to be true, factual,
and verifiable. Candidates who are convicted of violating this oath shall be considered guilty of perjury and will become
ineligible for elected office in or from the State of _____. Office-holders who are convicted of violating this oath shall
be considered guilty of perjury and will be required to immediately resign from the office to which they have been elected.
A non-partisan/bi-partisan Fair Elections Board
will be appointed by a bipartisan committee of the Legislature composed of an equal number of the members of each party who
have demonstrated bi-partisan cooperation. The Fair Elections Board will create and implement an interview process for all
candidates for State and national office listed on the ballot in the State of _____. All candidates will be required to participate
in every aspect of the interview process and must provide all documentation and records requested in order to have their name
validated for the final ballot. Every aspect of the interview process will be made available to the public as soon as possible
after each step is complete.
The interview process shall include but will not be limited to:
-A complete resume including employment history, work
record, accomplishments and volunteer and charitable activity as well as documentation of any significant ethical or legal
lapses in the candidates work or financial history.
-A written description of the political philosophy and management style of the candidate along
with an outline of the basic values and priorities that may affect decision-making. This must include an evaluation of the
extent to which past political decisions made by the candidate are consistent with the stated values, priorities, and principles.
-Complete tax records for seven
years prior to the election date.
-An assessment of personal traits and professional experience which would play a role in carrying out public duties
along with an assessment of the decision-making, communication, planning, and problem-solving skills, approaches, and management
style of the candidate.
-Standardized multiple choice and essay examinations along with personal interviews to assess the candidates understanding
structure and operations of national, State, and local government.
----Basic economic theory including factors that influence State and national
and anticipated State, national, and international political issues including the relevant history of these issues and who
is affected by them.
----Basic theory of debate and argumentation including the ability to recognize and identify strategies and techniques
that can be used to mislead or avoid the truth and those that stimulate honest debate which leads to increased understanding
and awareness of relevant issues.
----Effective approaches to decision-making and problem solving including strategic and tactical planning.
----The candidates must prepare
all written statements without outside assistance. All assessments will be recorded under supervision in a secure area. Notes
and outside contact during assessments are prohibited.
-Non-partisan/bi-partisan teams who have significant documented expertise
in each of the respective areas will conduct interviews and assessments.
-Interviews will also be conducted by groups of stakeholders who have significant
interests in issues that could be affected by the officeholder.
-Candidates are required to respond completely to all questions in every aspect
of the interview process, including follow-up questions.
-Candidates will be assessed and evaluated by interviewers according to their
ability to honestly and accurately respond to all questions. These assessments will be make public.
-Candidates will have no input or
influence regarding how the interview process is carried out.
All advertising which may affect the outcome of election of candidates for political office
from the State of _____ must present clear, factual, and easily verifiable information that is not misleading or taken out
of context. Information that is controversial or not easily verifiable must be clearly stated as such. All political advertising
must be designed to assist the voter in making informed, balanced decisions regarding candidates who best represent their
All advertisement containing material related to political candidates or issues shall be screened and evaluated
by a non-partisan fact-checking organization and rated accordingly before it is aired or distributed. A statement of the evaluation
will appear in a highly visible manner (if the advertisement is visual) and be clearly stated so that anyone viewing or hearing
the ad will be informed of the accuracy and fairness of its contents. All costs of this evaluation process shall be paid by
of the two following statements will appear and or be clearly stated with each advertisement: (1) “This advertisement
presents an accurate portrayal of the issues” or (2) This advertisement interferes with making a balanced and informed
decision because it (a) presents an unbalanced and biased presentation of the issues and/or (b) is misleading and/or (c) contains
false or unverifiable information. If any part of an advertisement contains content that fits the description for 2 a, b,
and/or c as described above, those statements must appear or be aired with the advertisement and the advertizer must provide
information where viewers can access a more balanced view of the issue or candidate supported.
A professional lobbyist is defined as anyone who earns more than $5000 per year
for activity that could influence political decisions. All professional lobbyists must register with the State and provide
information regarding their income and a detailed description of the interests they serve. Any contact between a professional
lobbyist and an officeholder elected in the State of _____ must be recorded and made available to the public.
Professional lobbyists must
provide a public outline of their argument to influence the decision of an officeholder elected in the State of _____ for
every contact with that officeholder or their representatives. This outline will be made available to the public within 24
hours of all contact between an officeholder or his or her representatives and professional lobbyist.
elected in the State of _____ must publicly announce all contacts with professional lobbyists and set aside equal time to
that spent with professional lobbyists to obtain information from individuals or groups who may oppose the position of those
professional lobbyists. These times must be announced to the public and coincide closely with the time allotted for meeting
with professional lobbyists.
Professional lobbyists must provide a true and accurate accounting of all expenses related to their effort
to influence the decisions of an officeholder elected in the State of _____.
Professional lobbyists who fail to meet the requirements of this section
will be fined an amount equal to their annual income from all lobbying efforts.
No former officeholder who was been elected in
the State of _____ or staff member employed by an officeholder elected in the State of _____ may receive income, financial
or otherwise, to lobby or influence the votes of members of a legislative body to which they were elected or appointed.
All officeholders elected in the State
of _____ shall provide a written summary documenting their vote on each piece of legislation that comes to a vote in the body
to which they have been elected. This summary shall include a description of their reasons for supporting or opposing the
legislation, how this legislation might serve the common good, an outline of the values and priorities upon which their vote
was based, anticipated short and long-term effects of the legislation, and a list of stakeholders who may be affected positively
and negatively by the legislation. These summaries shall be made available to the public within 48 hours of the vote.