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Represent.Us Wants GOP Candidates Grilled on Lobbyists

Represent.Us is pushing CNN to raise the issue of political corruption in Wednesday's GOP presidential candidate debate.

The group is spearheaded by Free Press co-founder and former president Josh Silver with an eye to spotlighting the corrupting influence of money in politics, primarily in the form of paid lobbyists.

CNN has sought questions from the public, and Represent.Us says it has gotten 18,000 people to date to sign on to their online campaign (#AskTheQuestion) to get CNN's moderators—and all future debate moderators—to ask the following (leading*) question, which it also posed in a YouTube video.

"The following is completely legal and routinely practiced in the United States:

1. Lobbyists write laws, then give money to politicians voting on them;

2. Politicians take money from the industries they regulate;

3. Special interests pay for politicians’ vacations and lavish gifts;

4. Politicians leave Congress to take lucrative jobs as lobbyists;

5. Politicians give tax breaks and corporate welfare to their funders.

As president, what specific steps would you take to fix our corrupt political system?"

The group said it won't be taking no as an answer.

"We’re demanding that the moderators of every primary and presidential debate ask every candidate — Republican, Democrat, or Independent — the question, starting with the first GOP primary debate on Wednesday, September 16. We’ll keep putting pressure on every moderator and their networks until the question has been answered."

*It presumes the system is corrupt and asks for fixes.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.