BISC serves as the nerve center of proactive and defensive ballot
initiative efforts. Since 1998, their efforts have been credited with
helping progressives catch up to the right-wing's use of ballot
initiatives as a political tool. BISC adds strategic value to the progressive movement in four steps: shaping the issue landscape; pooling research, resources and tactics; winning campaigns; building progressive infrastructure.
Just as corporate lobbying corrupts
the legislative process,
the scramble for government contracts corrupts the executive branch and
agencies. Ohio has seen multiple pay-to-play scandals in
where campaign contributors illicitly received unbid special counsel
general's office, no-bid contracts from the secretary
of state's office, and control of workers’
compensation investments in the notorious
Coingate scandal. Similar
have enveloped public officials in New
and other states across the country.
A number of states have taken action
to assure greater
accountability in the public contracting system through common-sense
Campaign Contributions by Contractors:Seven
have some form of pay-to-play contracting law to bar
on contracts from making campaign contributions to government
officials, and in
2005, New Jersey passed the nation’s most
in the wake of local contracting scandals.
Contracting Standards: The tighter the
standards for the
bidding processes and the work done, the less likely incompetent or
companies can buy contracts with campaign contributions.
As an alternative to raising large
sums of campaign cash to
fund increasingly expensive campaigns, states can create a
clean elections system for candidates who choose to forgo private
Strong arguments are available to progressives pursuing this
Publicly-funded elections free elected officials from the
to fundraise, and allow them to focus on public service, while
reducing the ability of private donors to buy influence with
officeholders. Public financing also encourages new people
independent wealth to pursue elected office, increases competition by
the disparity in spending between candidates, and reduces the cost of
as candidates accept voluntary spending limits.
In Georgia, former Democratic Leader Pete Robinson and former Republican Leader
Arthur Edge IV became pharmaceutical lobbyists after leaving office. More broadly, a third of federal lobbyists
hired by the drug companies are former government officials and pharma's state
lobbying army includes dozens of former state lawmakers.
Imposing a two-year moratorium before former legislators or other government
officials can become lobbyists prevents them from immediately leveraging their
relationships with government decision makers into lucrative careers
influencing their former colleagues. It also helps ensure that those
serving in government are truly interested in public service and not just
cashing in on the connections they make. Six states have imposed a
before former legislators can become lobbyists, while twenty states have
imposed a one-year moratorium.