At the height of D.C.’s spring tourist season, visitors may very well witness something bizarre: A flock of activists dressed as $100 bills running from K Street to Capitol Hill.
The “Stop Lobbyist Bribery” K Street 5K run and walk on Saturday, April 13, is a publicity- advocacy stunt by the group Represent.Us and its parent organization United Republic, which has enlisted ex-lobbyist and convicted felon Jack Abramoff in its cause.
“I don’t know if Jack Abramoff will be there for the race,” said Represent.Us director Josh Silver.
Silver said the event is designed to raise awareness for an American Anti-Corruption Act, for which his group is trying to enlist 1 million “citizen cosponsors” before it pushes for actual introduction in Congress. The idea for the race came from one of the group’s 300,000 members, Silver said.
The anti-corruption bill has campaign finance, disclosure and lobbying reforms, and conversations with Abramoff helped inspire the lobbying part, Silver said.
In a strange twist, the run’s organizers also plan to offer a medal of honor to U.S. Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine.
The idea is that when the Capitol Police prevent the money-dressed participants from entering the legislative branch, they will literally be keeping the money out of Congress.
“In the face of a looming Supreme Court decision that could remove limits on political contributions and radio silence from leaders of both major parties on anti-corruption reforms, a group of activists have plans to reinvigorate a movement,” a press advisory for the 5K explained.
Silver added in the statement that “Public interest advocates have been ignored and slighted for decades because politicians are focused on pleasing those with the most money, not the best ideas. We finally realized that if we want to get politicians’ attention, we need to be the money.”
According to the run’s website, the event will begin in Lafayette Park at 2 p.m. on April 13 and will conclude at the Capitol, where a rally is planned for 3:30 p.m.
“We’re not going to sit around quietly while America is corroded by corrupt money. Instead, we’re going to get noticed, get noisy, have fun, and let Congress know we won’t stand for the corruption any longer,” states the website.
Represent.Us and United Republic are even offering to buy participants’ $100 bill costumes. That’s not bribery, right?
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.