Commonwealth National Podcast

Campaign Finance Panel with Alan Simpson, Former U.S. Senator (R-WY) & Bill Bradley, Former U.S. Senator (D-NJ) (6/6/2007)



Alan Simpson, Former U.S. Senator (R-WY)
Bill Bradley, Former U.S. Senator (D-NJ)


Two veteran political leaders make a bipartisan plea to take the power of money out of our government system. “What is needed is to take money out of the political process and break the connection between the lobbyist and the legislator,” says Bradley, noting that at the beginning of his two-decades in the U.S. Senate, he spent a couple million dollars to win election. But in 2000, his successor in office spent tens of millions to get there. The two former senators argue that the problem doesn’t stop once someone gets into office; they have to continue raising money for their re-election and for other campaigns being run by their party. Simpson recalls his refusal to participate in the never-ending money chase, where senators sit in cubicles and make endless phone calls to raise cash from contributors. They’re dialing for dollars, he says, and “meanwhile, your bill is in committee the next day, but you’re not working on it, you’re not paying attention to it – your staff is working on it.” Bradley notes that it’s naïve to believe that the big money being pumped into election coffers doesn’t have an effect on the legislation that is produced. To address this influence, he and Simpson have teamed up with Americans for Campaign Reform to support public financing of federal elections.

This program was recorded live on June 6, 2007