Rand Paul on Governing Under the Influence
Addy S.: Senator, there is a trend in different industries, for example with private prisons corporations like Geo are profiting from that and are driving policy, You also have corporations in the Military Industrial Complex who are actually driving the policy. For example, the town of Berlin just acquired a Bearcat and I don't think that we necessarily need it. My question for you is if elected president, what will you do to make sure that our Government's policies are not being driven by corporations.
Senator Rand Paul: I think it's a good question, I've talked about the military equipment a lot. I think that military equipment should be for the military not the local police. We've given out 12,000 bayonets to the police. I am not so sure what the bayonets are going to be used for in Manchester or Keene or any of these cities. We've given out 620 ton mine-resistant ambush protection vehicles (something inaudible.)
Overall, not just in the military equipment being given to the police force, the contracts were drawn by corporations who then influence policy in a way that seems to then benefit them financially.
We talked for a long time about campaign finance reform and it's never worked because we've run into a constitutional problem and I tend to agree. Constitutionally, my speech is the same as the person who owns the Union Leader's speech. They have to pay for their newspaper.
We both should have freedom of speech. However, if I get a billion dollars contract from the Government to do work for them, I think there is a way you could restrain the activities of a person who gets a billion dollars, not by a law, but by a contract.
So if I go to the government and I want to get a billion dollars contract, we could put something in the contract that says I agree to get this money, but I agree to restrict my...uh.. lobbying and all the other stuff to get more money.
We already have something similar to that. If you join the military, we will have restrictions. If I was in the military, I am not allowed to stand up here in my military uniform and campaign. It restricts my freedom of speech because I have done it voluntarily.
I think we can do the same with big corporations and the Government. Once you get a contract, you don't have the right to the contract. Once you get the contract, you shouldn't be allowed to use any of that money to campaign and lobby congress for more.
Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae spent billions of dollars that they had gotten from the government to lobby for more, they had probably 20 to 30 lobbyists. It's a filthy system, it gets worse and worse because the money we spend is lobbied for back policy and it gets worse. It is a problem that I am interested in.
I think that one solution would be limiting federal contracts, limiting what you can do if you're going to get federal contracts.