Read

Search form

Jimmy Carter: Citizens United, Financial Corruption Threaten Democracy

Jimmy Carter: Citizens United, Financial Corruption Threaten Democracy
Thu, 9/13/2012 - by Associated Press

Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta. Former president Jimmy Carter, seen here speaking in Washington last week, has warned against the "excessive influx of money" in U.S. politics, particularly because of the Citizens United ruling.

Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter has issued a blistering indictment of the American electoral process, saying it is shot through with "financial corruption" that threatens democracy.

Speaking at the international human rights centre that bears his name, Carter said "we have one of the worst election processes in the world right in the United States of America, and it's almost entirely because of the excessive influx of money."

The dynamic is fed, Carter said, by an income tax code that exacerbates the gap between the wealthiest Americans and the rest of the electorate, allowing the rich even greater influence over public discourse and electioneering.

The 39th president lamented a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that allows unlimited contributions to third-party groups that don't have to disclose their donors.

He added that he hopes the "Supreme Court will reverse that stupid ruling," referring to the case known as Citizens United.

Carter praised Mexico and several countries where staff at his centre have monitored publicly financed elections, and he said the United States should return to publicly financed elections for president. The system technically is still in place, but it is voluntary and both President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney have chosen to bypass the taxpayer money because they can amass far more on their own.

"You know how much I raised to run against Gerald Ford? Zero," Carter said, referring to his 1976 general election opponent. "You know how much I raised to run against Ronald Reagan? Zero. You know how much will be raised this year by all presidential, Senate and House campaigns? $6 billion. That's 6,000 millions."

The 87-year-old Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, appeared at The Carter Center to deliver a report on their human rights and public health initiatives around the world. They took questions from those in attendance and online viewers watching a webcast.

U.S. Has "Less Influence" in Middle East

Carter, a Democrat who left office in 1981, held forth on a range of foreign policy matters, nearly all of them situations where The Carter Center and the former president himself have been involved.

The United States, Carter said, has "less influence" over Middle East nations and diplomacy in that region than it has had at any time since Israel was established as a nation-state in 1948. "Our country's government has basically abandoned the effort," Carter said, adding that he still supports a two-state solution.

He said he hopes Israel resists any urge to strike Iran "on its own," and he discouraged President Obama from drawing a "line in the sand" that Iran would almost certainly cross.

In Syria, Carter said the civil war will worsen as other nations in the region flood the participants with weapons. "There is little hope of good things coming out of Syria any time soon," he said.

He praised the Venezuelan election process. He described a touch-screen voting system that immediately records a vote in a centralized location, while also printing out a ballot receipt that allows a voter to check the accuracy of the vote. He noted "criticism of the outcome" of recent elections there but said President Hugo Chavez won "fairly and squarely."

While the former president clearly relishes the detailed discussions of world political affairs, he and his wife emphasized that the centre's public health programs have had the greatest individual effects of their post-White House work.

Rosalynn Carter, who concentrates much of her work on mental health access and education, highlighted an ongoing effort to educate mental health professionals in Liberia. After three years of Carter Center involvement, three classes of nurses and other medical professionals have received advanced training in treating behavioural health concerns. The former first lady said the need is acute in the war-torn nation, which had just one practicing psychiatrist three years ago.

Add new comment

Sign Up

Article Tabs

Jeremy Corbyn, MPs

The anti-Corbyn forces within Labour might very well have achieved the complete opposite of what they aimed to achieve.

shady financial practices, financial crimes, Dodd-Frank Act, Roosevelt Institute, too big to fail, Glass-Steagall Act, Gerald Epstein, Juan Antonio Montecino

The average U.S. household loses over $100,000 to destructive activities of bankers and financiers.

Bernie Sanders supporters traveled to Philadelphia from every corner of the country this week to show their enduring support for his candidacy.

This week, as the DNC rages on, we're talking state surveillance – digging deep into the past and present with surveillance expert, Chip Gibbons from Defending Dissent

"We are in a political moment where we can dismantle not only the racist neoconservative Republican Party, but also the racist and equally destructive neoliberalism of the Democratic Party."

Greek privatizations, transit privatization, Panhellenic Railway Association, TrainOSE, water privatization, Thessaloniki Water Supply & Sewage, Greek austerity policies

Late last month, the Panhellenic Railway Association took to the streets to protest a slew of public transport privatizations scheduled to take place later this year. "The government defiantly and shamelessly gives away the national wealth," it said.

Posted 6 days 20 hours ago
Democratic National Convention, DNC, DNC protests, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Bernie supporters, Food & Water Watch, March for a Clean Energy Future

More than 10,000 people calling for a “clean energy revolution” filled the streets here Sunday.

Posted 4 days 3 min ago
anti-fracking protests, Keep It In the Ground, protester arrests, undercover agents

Emails obtained through an open records act request show that the Lakewood Police Department in Colorado collected details about a BLM oil and gas lease protest from undercover officers as the event was being planned.

Posted 6 days 18 hours ago
All Lives Matter protesters come together for a group hug with join Black Lives Matter activists in Dallas at Park Ln & Fair Oaks Ave. July 10th.

In recent weeks, the Southern Poverty Law Center has received a number of requests to name Black Lives Matter a hate group. In our view, these critics fundamentally misunderstand the nature of hate groups and the BLM movement.

Posted 4 days 9 min ago
Democratic National Convention, Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein, Bernie protesters, progressives, Equality Coalition for Bernie Sanders, Migrants Rights March, Juntos, immigrant rights, Democracy Spring

We’re supposed to have a government of and by the people, but the government we have is only interested in protecting the rights of big corporations and billionaires.

Posted 2 days 10 hours ago
anti-fracking protests, Keep It In the Ground, protester arrests, undercover agents

Emails obtained through an open records act request show that the Lakewood Police Department in Colorado collected details about a BLM oil and gas lease protest from undercover officers as the event was being planned.

Bernie Sanders supporters traveled to Philadelphia from every corner of the country this week to show their enduring support for his candidacy.

Greek privatizations, transit privatization, Panhellenic Railway Association, TrainOSE, water privatization, Thessaloniki Water Supply & Sewage, Greek austerity policies

Late last month, the Panhellenic Railway Association took to the streets to protest a slew of public transport privatizations scheduled to take place later this year. "The government defiantly and shamelessly gives away the national wealth," it said.

marijuana legalization, cannabis legalization, legalized weed, Adult Use of Marijuana Act, AUMA, Monsanto, GMOs, seed patents, George Soros, corporate marijuana takeover

With the cannabis industry predicted to generate over $13 billion by 2020, there should be little doubt that companies like Monsanto are simply waiting for Uncle Sam to remove herb from Schedule I.

More than $50 billion in foreign aid is pumped into Africa annually – but did you know that roughly the same amount is illicitly siphoned out of the continent?