man raising his hand

“The most important political office is that of the private citizen.”  Justice Louis Brandeis

Prepare to ask the elected official or candidate the right question

Asking the right question takes preparation: 

  • Video:  Check out the video of Kamala Harris being asked whether she would refuse campaign contributions from corporations and their lobbyists — that single question caused Harris to change her position and commit to rejecting corporate PAC money.
  • Sample question:  Here’s a sample question you can modify to fit your situation:
    • “Mr/Ms (fill in elected official’s or candidate’s name), I have a question about money in politics … but it is directed at you personally.  My question is extremely specific and I would appreciate a very specific answer.  I was reading that you have accepted a large campaign contribution from the [pharmaceutical industry [or other special interest], which benefits when their prices to consumers are high].  We all know that you can’t serve two masters  … so I was wondering, if you are elected by the hardworking people of this community … are you going to betray us, the hardworking taxpayers who pay your salary (pause) …  or are you going to betray the wealthy special interests and corporations whose large campaign contributions you took.”
  • Tips for preparing to ask your question:  Some folks call asking such questions “bird-dogging” … we think of it as being an engaged citizen doing their part to preserve and protect our precious democracy.  As in most things in life, preparation is key — So click here for tips to help you prepare. 
  • Local elected official or candidate: for a local office (for example, mayor, county executive, or county or city council) the best source of information may be your state board of election’s website.
    • For example, for Virginia:
      • Step 1:  Click here
      • Step 2:  Insert the last name of the candidate
      • Step 3:  Find the right elected official or candidate in the list (you may need to click through the pages with the arrows under the column “View Reports”)
      • Step 4:  Click the “View Reports” button located on the far right of the row with the name of the elected official or candidate
      • Step 5:  Click the “Large Contributions” button
    •  For Maryland, click here