Why shouldn't American politicians wear the logos of their "funders" just as US athletes or NASCAR drivers sport the brand names of their sponsors? A California businessman thinks that is exactly what should happen and has launched a petition demanding that the electorate vote on his proposal.
John Cox, a San Diego Republican who once ran for the US Senate in Illinois, aims to force state politicians to wear the logos of their biggest donors on their clothing. He has already collected nearly 250,000 signatures to get his "California is not for sale" initiative on the state ballot in November.
Cox is seeking 500,000 signatures, but only needs 366,000.
"Our proposed bill will require politicians to wear the logos of their top ten donors anytime they speak on the floor (just like a NASCAR driver would for his sponsors)," explains the mission statement of the campaign website.
"Imagine this: a California Senator is speaking on the floor and proposes a bill he just drafted that will give oil companies huge tax advantages. Now imagine if on his jacket, he was wearing Chevron, Shell, and BP. Our law will bring this under-the-table-corruption to the surface."
The proposed measure would also require political candidates to disclose their top ten donors in political advertisements. Cox said he's using the planned-for initiative to "ridicule the current system" that allows deep-pocket special interests to bankroll politicians.
"If they don't take any money, they won't have to wear any stickers," said Cox after he posted the petition. Cox insists that he is not out to embarrass lawmakers or attack corporations or lobbyists, but to raise awareness about big money's influence.
"I think most of them, are probably good people," he said. "But they're caught in a corrupt system."
Ryan Smith, a coordinator for California is Not for Sale, told Mint Press: "We've received a tremendous amount of support from the community. People love this idea. They've felt helpless and abused by politicians."
State Assembly member Rocky Chavez says he supports more donor transparency but is convinced that having everyone "decked out like race car drivers would be a circus element which wouldn't really benefit the public."