Opinion

MATT GAETZ: Why I Stopped Taking PAC Money

Rep. Matt Gaetz Congressman, Florida's 1st District
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I’ve catfished hundreds of thousands of dollars from special interests.

I never met their expectations — but I always knew what they wanted.

The special interests in Washington, DC love the status quo. They thrive on a culture of corruption, pouring millions into the coffers of elected officials to have their interests placed above the interests of Americans. Their system of exchanging favors and access for money renders public service — which should be among the nation’s noblest professions — dangerously close to the oldest profession.

This is why Federal PACS don’t want you looking behind the curtain at their corruption. The want you to chant “drain the swamp” and then do nothing as they treat the swamp as their own luxury mud bath.

No matter which party is in power, the winner in Congress is frequently the special interest that can shuttle the most money into political campaigns. Committee assignments and leadership opportunities are doled out to members most indebted to special interests. Congressional staffers even use the orientation process to tell new members of Congress which PACS and special interests will donate based on committee assignments and influence.

When these transactions happen in the private sector, they call it “fraud,” “bribery” and “money laundering.”

When it happens on Capitol Hill, they call it fundraising.

In Congress, “compromise legislation” and “stakeholder consensus” are often code-words for special interests getting together and screwing over Americans. The more a member of Congress proves his merit laundering money between special interests and our fake leadership, the faster he climbs the ranks.

No, Paul Ryan, HMO’s and health insurance companies should not write our health care bills behind closed doors after donating millions of dollars to your aligned super PAC’s.

Polluters should not set environmental standards.

Big Tech should not define debate in our country as they buy off Congress.

That’s not the way America should work. Our founding fathers did not commit treason to the Crown of England just so our generation could turn around and prostitute ourselves to the special interests of multinational corporations. Instead, our founding fathers pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.

We hear a lot about fortune in Washington, DC —  less so about honor and sacredness.

I’m a different kind of Republican.

I’m sick of the masquerading. I’m sick of politicians pledging allegiance to PACs while snubbing the forgotten men and women of America. I will have no part in it.

I will never again accept a donation from a federal political action committee — not one red cent.

The American people are my one and only special interest.

So far, I’m the only Republican returning to Congress to make this no PAC pledge. I invite my colleagues to join me and my friends on the other side of the aisle, such as Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA), in refusing to cave to tainted special interest dollars.

Some Democrats morally preen themselves by swearing off “corporate PAC” money. This sounds lofty in theory — but when they continue gorging on union PACs, ideological PACs, and “Leadership PACs,” they expose their promises for the performative, empty gestures that they truly are — and merely compound their betrayal of the American people with a dose of deception.

The American people must engage and drive the future and fate of our great nation. They must stand in the breach and fill the void left by special interest dollars that have perverted our political discourse for far too long.

James Madison wrote that, in America, the highest position in society would not be “President” or “Senator” or “Congressman” — but instead, “Citizen.”

As citizens, it is your duty to step up, speak out and assume your rightful place as the captains of our democracy. After all, America is not just an idea — it is our home. And we need to send the message loud and clear that America is not for sale.

The political establishment loses sleep at night when they see patriots unified in opposition to their treacherous agenda. But the days of these crooks getting away with auctioning off our freedoms and slapping a price tag on our inalienable rights are coming to an end.

The corporate elites in Washington DC are gasping for air after three years of President Trump. I say it’s time we suffocate their agenda with four more years of draining the swamp.

My independence from special interests is my loyalty to America, and to the America First movement that Donald Trump began when he rode down that escalator.

It is a movement that will carry our party into victory in 2020, and our nation into greatness in the twenty-first century.

Together — with our patriotism, love, loyalty and unflinching resolve, we will make good on President Trump’s promise that yes, the best is yet to come.

Republican Matt Gaetz represents Florida’s 1st congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives.