Obama Donate All Corporate Speaking Fees to an Independent Charity
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Politicians taking speaking fees from private interest groups after they leave office undermines American Democracy. At best, this practice creates a perceived conflict of interest. At worst, this creates an opportunity for legalized bribery. In all cases, it is corrosive to public trust.
Many former U.S. presidents and high-ranking officials have made millions of dollars delivering remarks to the very industries they were responsible for regulating during their time in public service, but this does not mean that public service should come with an enormous private payout. This has become the dangerous new normal.
Therefore, we respectfully ask that Barack Obama -- who in many citizens' estimation is one of the most rational, moral, and remarkable presidents in US history -- to set a new precedent either by refusing to give paid private speeches or by donating 100% of the proceeds from such speeches to an independent charity. One cannot credibly discuss the need to reform the political system to respond to the needs of everyday people while simultaneously accepting millions of dollars in private speaking fees from the wealthiest strata of society. It is a betrayal of the trust and effort so many volunteer supporters, voters, and citizens place in the leaders they entrust to guide this nation for the common good. Ending the normalization of paid speaking arrangements would be one more honorable decision in the legacy of an incredible president.
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