This is a letter I sent to every Senator and Representative in Congress. My sister, girlfriend, and I all had writers cramp for a week after filling in the names, addressing, and signing all those copies. But I have the satisfaction of knowing that I told Congress how to run the country.
RFD Lower Prospect Hill
In a democracy, the first duty of an elected official is to his constituents; to represent their desires, modified and tempered by the congressman's constitutionally-imposed limits, and within the laws as they have been interpreted by the courts and amended by the legislature. These constituents must be represented equally, as one man - one vote. These votes cannot be transferable; each man may represent only his own vote, in either voting formally at the polls or informally in communication with congress. It follows that a man may not transfer his vote formally or informally to a corporate entity. Inasmuch as a corporation is a group of individuals and these individuals are represented, a further communication by the corporation is not consistent with one man - one vote, as those members would be represented twice.
To the extent that communications from people to a congressman constitute an exchange of value, a vote expressing the desire of that individual, a request that the representative honor those desires, the expression of an interest, etc., it is inappropriate for these communications to come from any place other than the registered constituents, personally. Corporations have no vote; votes are not transferable; and the congressman represents his constituents only. Accordingly, congressmen should be required to accept communication from individual members of their registered constituents, and prohibited from receiving unsolicited communications from other sources. All lobbying should be illegal and prohibited, and corporations should communicate only with agencies in the executive branch of government.
Inasmuch as the congressmen should not accept communications of value from anyone other than their constituents - and there must be in some measure equality - the former idea of "Campaign Contribution" is inconsistent with the one man one vote idea. Congressmen and prospective congressmen should accept no money or items of value from anyone, under penalty of imprisonment and/or fine. It follows that all campaign financing should come from the public till. Congress should pass appropriate laws to regulate the equitable use and limits on funds for such campaigning, in order to ensure that the people have a choice. Additionally, funding campaigns from other than the public till does not provide for equal opportunity to "ascend" to the public-servant level of congressman.
Further, funding to support the responsibility of congressmen to their constituents should be provided. Congressmen should be required to report periodically to all their registered constituents on matters of their office. These reports should be no less than semiannually.
I think it is time to discard our hesitant halfway steps and deal with the situation with the dignity and genius which our Founding Fathers displayed. I propose a constitutional amendment which provides congressmen with the means and responsibility to report to the people they represent, which prohibits communication about lawmaking from any source other than the constituents, which prohibits the acceptance by any congressman or prospective congressman of any favor or gratuity, under penalty of law, and which provides for campaign funding from the public till, with congressional power to regulate the qualifications for, and use of, these funds.
RALPH E. KENYON, JR.
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