While President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, heartily disagree about the role of money in politics, campaign finance reform was never breached in any of the three presidential debates this month.
But the issue was front and center during a debate Tuesday in Chicago sponsored by the nonprofit Free and Equal Elections Foundation that featured four dark-horse presidential candidates.
During the debate, which was moderated by former CNN host Larry King, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein advocated for a constitutional amendment to “clarify that money is not speech and corporations are not people.”
Rocky Anderson, the former Democratic mayor of Salt Lake City Mayor now running for president under the banner of the Justice Party, assailed the “corrupting influence” of money and alleged that both Obama and Romney have been “bought and paid for.”
Former Virginia Congressman Virgil Goode, the nominee of the conservative Constitution Party, called for the elimination of all political action committees, including super PACs, saying the nation should sever ties with the groups just as we “threw off” King George during the American Revolution.
Even Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson, the former two-term GOP governor of New Mexico, suggested that politicians be required to wear NASCAR-like jackets with the logos of their sponsors.
Stein, Anderson, Goode and Johnson were barred from participating in the three presidential debates between Obama and Romney, but their names will appear on the ballot across the country.
The Libertarian Party is qualified for the ballot in nearly all 50 states, and both the Green Party and Constitution Party will appear on the ballot in dozens of states. The Justice Party will appear on the ballot in 16 states, including the swing states of Colorado and Florida.