Speaking Wednesday in his farewell speech to the Senate, incoming Secretary of State John Kerry warned of the corrupting influence of money and politics.
There’s another challenge that we must address and it is the corrupting force of the vast sums of money necessary to run for office. The unending chase for money I believe threatens to steal our democracy itself. I’ve used the word “corrupting” and I want to be very clear about it. I mean by it not the corruption of individuals but a corruption of a system itself that all of us are forced to participate in against our will: The alliance of money and the interests that it represents, the access that it affords to those who have it at the expense of those who don’t, the agenda that it change or sets by virtue of its power is steadily silencing the voice of the vast majority of Americans who have a much harder time competing or who can’t compete at all.
He went on to decry the influence of money on the legislative process:
The insidious intention of that money is to set the agenda, change the agenda, block the agenda, define the agenda of Washington. How else could we possible have a US tax code of sum of some 76,000 pages? Ask yourselves how many Americans have their own page, their own tax break, their own special deal? We should not resign ourselves, Mr. President, to a distorted system that corrodes our democracy, and this is what is contributing to the justifiable anger of the American people. They know it. They know we know it. And yet nothing happens. The truth requires that we call the corrosion of money in politics what it is -- it is a form of corruption and it muzzles more Americans than it empowers, and it is an imbalance that the world has taught us can only sow the seeds of unrest.
The Huffington Post's Michael McAuliff covered the full speech, where he insisted that the upper chamber is not broken but lawmakers are the problem. Kerry begings his tenure as secretary of state Monday.