In order to hold our elected officials accountable, Public Citizen believes that we must first ensure that the election process is run in a fair, ethical manner. We must ensure that campaign contributions and campaign spending are limited and follow the guidelines of the law. More importantly, we believe that to hold our elected officials accountable, citizens must become active watchdogs of their representatives.
Big-money special interests dominate Texas government, undermining democracy in Texas. Many Texans today don’t vote or participate, believing special interests run the state. Talented candidates don’t run, unable to compete without personal wealth or special interest backers. Most legislative elections don’t offer voters a choice in candidates, with incumbents running unopposed or grossly outspending their challengers.
We support reforms that are working successfully in other states to enhance the power of the public and reduce the influence of special interests. These changes will make elections competitive again and enhance the role of smaller donors. They will put the voter back in charge in Texas.
We are working to guarantee that every Texans’ voice is heard by promoting non-partisan political reform, including measures to:
- Close corporate and union soft money loopholes
- Establish reasonable campaign contribution limits
- Improve the effectiveness and independence of the Texas Ethics Commission
- Record all legislative votes publicly to ensure accountability to voters
Tightening the state’s prohibition on corporate and union soft money, as federal law does, would ensure that soft money stays out of our state’s elections. Contribution limits would prevent individuals or PACs in Texas from having undue influence over an officeholder. An effective enforcement agency would serve as a deterrent and ensure our laws are enforced. Recording all legislative votes would ensure accountability to voters.
Public Citizen and our coalition of partners in Texas believe that with these changes, we can restore democracy to our state.