How I Will Free America From Corporate Capture
Last month in Philadelphia, the home of American Independence, I announced myself as an independent candidate for president. My candidacy is not only about being independent from the two political parties. My goal is to make the federal government independent too — independent of the corporate and financial interests that have a merciless grip on our democracy. RFK, Jr.’s Policies + PoliticsRead More
Last month in Philadelphia, the home of American Independence, I announced myself as an independent candidate for president. My candidacy is not only about being independent from the two political parties. My goal is to make the federal government independent too — independent of the corporate and financial interests that have a merciless grip on our democracy.
For decades Republicans have railed against Big Government and Democrats have complained about Big Business. Behind the scenes though, they have capitulated to both. The result is that we now face something much more dangerous: the combination of Big Government and Big Business.
As an Independent candidate for president beholden to neither major party, my mission is to dissolve this corrupt merger of state and corporate power.
A key feature of the state-corporate merger is the capture of federal agencies by industries they are supposed to regulate. This is why our nation’s most serious problems are never solved, but only seem to get worse.
Is it any wonder that our food is unwholesome, when pesticide companies and food conglomerates control the U.S. Department of Agriculture?
Is it any wonder that we wage endless wars when the defense contractors control the intelligence agencies, the Department of Defense, and the State Department?
How can we expect our environment to be anything but a toxic mess, when polluters and extractive industries dominate the EPA, Bureau of Land Management, and Department of the Interior? (In a lawsuit I helped file and win against the chemical-agriculture giant Monsanto, I learned that the head of the pesticide division of the EPA had been secretly colluding with Monsanto for years.)
The health of our nation has succumbed over the last two generations to an epidemic of chronic illness. Could that have anything to do with the fact that Big Pharma runs the CDC, NIH, and NIAID (the agency Anthony Fauci controlled for four decades)?
We are losing our First Amendment right to free speech because Big Tech is in cahoots with the intelligence agencies, the FCC, and CISA (the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency).
The American middle class has been decimated and its wealth siphoned to the top, in large part because of the influence that Wall Street and the big investment firms — JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street — have over the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Reserve, and Department of the Treasury.
Many politicians, when they come into office, sincerely want to fix the government. Donald Trump famously vowed to drain the swamp. But when new presidents get in office they are helpless against the institutional inertia of the sprawling federal bureaucracy. So they make “safe” appointments at the various agencies, meaning people who are in the tank with industry. The result is business as usual.
President Trump’s inaugural committee got a million dollars from Pfizer and he then appointed a business associate of Pfizer to run the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), who then left through the revolving door to join Pfizer’s board. That’s not draining the swamp. That IS the swamp.
I am not interested in business as usual. I’ve spent 40 years suing federal agencies. Now I’m going to turn that experience toward reclaiming them. The first step is to replace their top-level management with people who are not beholden to a corporate agenda.
I will recruit these people from among activists who have been fighting to do what the agencies should have been doing all along — protect the public interest. I will also draw from the ranks of reformers and whistleblowers inside the agencies themselves, and I will promote officials who have earned a reputation for resisting the corporate agenda.
I will go through the federal bureaucracy agency by agency to install honest, competent leadership. They will change the organizational culture of those agencies so that their employees — the majority of whom are decent civil servants who really do want to serve the public interest — can do their jobs.
I will also usher in a new era of transparency. It is commonplace today to receive page after page of heavy redactions from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. It is as if our federal agencies have forgotten who their real bosses are — the people of the United States.
Change won’t come overnight, but with the cooperation of the many honest people inside these agencies, it may come sooner than most would expect. The American people can help the process by raising their expectations. For too long, we have simply accepted as normal an oppositional relationship to our government.
People have lost trust in their government — for good reason. Cleaning up the agencies and making them transparent servants of the public interest is an important step to earn that trust back.
Originally published in The Hill.