Democrat — MO 2nd District

What I Won’t Do

It’s not enough to provide a pledge of what I’ll do if elected to Congress. If given the privilege of serving as your representative, there also needs to be a clear understanding of what I will never do while in office – or once my tenure ends.

Never to Fundraise While Congress is in Session.  As your representative, my focus will strictly be on what is best for the district, the state of Missouri, and for the nation. Legislators can’t really do this if they are focused on raising money. While Congress is in session, I pledge never to spend any time outside of the district actively soliciting money for my campaign, the campaign of others, any interest group, PAC, or political party. The “fundraising phones” in Democratic party offices in D.C. will never see my shadow!

Never to Accept Gifts, Meals, or other Accommodations from Lobbyists.  The only material benefit a member of Congress should receive is through the compensation allowed by law. Everything else that is accepted is unethical and – quite possibly – bribery. Special interests have armies of lobbyists that descend upon Washington. They should not be allowed to buy preferential treatment. But that is what’s happening when special interests dangle trinkets in front of Congress. I pledge to never accept a gift of any size, a meal of any kind, or any other accommodation from any individual or group with business before the Federal government. This includes – but is not limited to – individuals registered as lobbyists or employees of special interests. They want to talk to me? Fine. But they need to leave the gifts behind!

Never to Allow My Immediate Family or my Staff to Accept Gifts from Lobbyists. Special interest groups and their lobbyists use lots of tricks to gain the attention of elected officials. This includes going through family members and office staff.  I pledge to prohibit my immediate family and my Congressional staff (those working in Washington D.C. and in the district) from accepting a gift of any size, a meal of any kind, or any other accommodation from any individual or group with business before the Federal government.  This includes – but is not limited to – individuals registered as lobbyists or employees of special interests.

Never to Accept Free Travel from Anyone During my Tenure. Another trick special interests and their captured Congressional pawns use is to cover travel expenses (usually to somewhere exotic!) and call it a “necessary business expense.”  As your representative I pledge to never accept free travel from anyone. If travel to somewhere is so important, the government should have no problem paying for it. If government refuses, but I still think it is necessary, then I will cover the travel expenses personally. This policy will apply to my immediate family and office staff, as well. And if I do fly on the government’s expense, it will always be coach and never first class!

Never to Keep Secret My Appointments or Meetings. Voters should know what their representatives are doing while in office. That should include access to my appointment calendar. Information regarding my meetings and appointments made in my official capacity as a member of Congress should be public knowledge. Publicizing it in a timely manner – such as on one’s office website – should be expected.  Naturally, divulging the content of these meetings may be inappropriate. But if it’s a meeting that is worth having, the public needs to know about it and they need to know who it is with. Moreover, any and all contact with a registered lobbyist will be publicized. This includes contact made in my official capacity as a legislator as well as contact outside of my official duties.  If one is not ashamed of who they are meeting with – or if they have nothing to hide – then publicizing this information should be easy.

Never to Work as a Lobbyist (or its equivalent) After My Term of Office. The “revolving door” that exists where former members of Congress become wealthy lobbyists for the groups they formally had influence over is a corruption. I pledge to never accept a job as a lobbyist (or its equivalent) from any organization that has business with the federal government. This will apply to my immediate family and staff, as well.  Serving as a representative is an honor. If one is not willing to make this sacrifice regarding future employment, they should never have run for office in the first place.

Never to Bar Access to my Office or to Me. Members of Congress are public servants. They need to be accessible to the people of the district. Unlike our current representative, I will always be accessible to the people of the 2nd district – whether they supported my campaign or not.  This means that you will always be able to connect with office staff and that I will make myself personally available whenever possible. This includes – but is not limited to – regular district town hall events whenever Congress is in recess or when circumstance may dictate.

End Corruption. Demand reform.
Paid for by John Messmer for Congress.