Honesty Bond

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                                 About Honesty Bond
                                               by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

                                It was the early 90s. The scruffy old pot holder was barely legible but you could still read, “Alan Robbins for  State Senate.”  
 I had run as a Libertarian against State Senator Alan Robbins in 1982. As Libertarians we thought of it as a way to educate voters, not win elections. By then I had been in what we call the Freedom Movement since the Goldwater campaign. Suddenly it occurred to me that things could be different if politicians had to actually keep their promises. 
“What if they had to resign if they failed to keep their promises?” I thought to myself. Soon afterward Robbins was indicted. No one was surprised, except that he was caught. You could not be involved in politics and not know how dishonest most of the office holders really were.
Never one to let grass grow under my feet in February 1992 I wrote up the Liberty Pledge, printed some literature, had a banner made and took them with me to the next Republican Convention. 

While at the convention I shared the idea with an old friend of mine named John Fund. He asked me for a piece of the literature. I was delighted to share. 

In 1994 Newt Gingrich went into power with a 'Contract on America.' He made big promises, none of which were kept. At the time I thought his wording curiously familiar but dismissed this as a coincidence. The Class of '94, while never performing became wealthy and influential beyond their wildest dreams. Americans continued to descend into the state in which we, today, find ourselves.  

This would be the whole story except for events taking place some years later. 

In 2000 many things had changed in my life. I had discovered John Fund was honesty challenged, like so many politicians. He had lied to me about his relationship with my daughter, who he had known as a child. She and I had not been speaking for reasons having nothing to do with John when she called me up in September, 1999, wanting to talk. What she told me was incredible. I did not believe her and told her so.

Then her call waiting chimed in and she put me on hold. Eventually, I hung up and tried to call her back to finish our discussion. I gave up and my phone rang. Morgan said, “Just listen.” I discovered she had been telling me the truth. You can listen to the tape here. 

Over the next months we talked a lot. One day she asked me, “What was that idea you had that turned into the Contract with America?” “What?” I asked.  

“John told me it was your idea, the one he gave to Newt that started it.” This was news to me. 

“You mean the Liberty Pledge?” The inquiring look went away. She nodded.  

Initially, I was just amused. However, when it became clear it was a contract on America I changed my mind. There was no enforceability in the PR campaign they used to take the House in 1994, just oozings of rhetoric never intended to enact change.  

Rhetoric intended to deceive is fraud, the antitheses of what I intended to build with the original, which I called the Liberty Pledge and later the Honesty Bond.  

Newt got rich, changed wives frequently, and now uses the rhetoric of our founders to continue his rapacious ways, babbling continually about honor and faith in his continued attempts to loosen your wallet. 

Today he is running for president and has promised he will uphold the 10th Amendment. Never believe a serial liar. Gingrich lied to his wives, to Americans and anyone else when he could profit by so doing.  

On January 14, 2003 at 10:28:38 AM Eastern Standard Time he wrote this email to my daughter. What relationship with Mr. Blumenthal? Morgan and I were stunned. Newt did not respond to our questions. What kind of person convicts a battered woman without even asking for both sides of the story? Newt Gingrich was just one of many who ignored the evidence. Morgan had been a docent at the Reagan Library. I was a Regent for the National Federation of Republican Women.  

Over the next years we found a few honest people who were willing to exercise due diligence. Most believed what was convenient – and profitable. It was a sad time, filled with hardship and struggles.  

Accountability, and how to enact it, grew as an issue for me through the next years. But again I was busy. I was the full time caretaker for my eldest son who had suffered two major brain injuries, the result of first a motorcycle accident and then a suicide attempt in which he shot himself through the brain. I considered many approaches for redressing the frightening trend in politics. 

This brings us to the next reason I decided transparency and accountability are essential.  

Decoupling the accountability from the potential for profit was a trademark for the NeoCons as they converted the ideas of Libertarianism, which all of my children grew up respecting, into the newest justification for corporate profit. It was a sad end to what we had thought would be a real revolution. 

By 1995 I knew Fund had a reputation for stealing ideas. I had learned from my daughter Ayn's boyfriend, then working as an analyst at Reason, they were told never to send Fund unpublished articles because he would steal them. Stealing ideas is Fund's stock in trade. Newt probably depends on Fund, lacking the discernment to know what is worth stealing. Through their mutual mainstay and support, Karl Rove, the two are still working together.  

My book, GREED: The NeoConning of America, published in 2004, is a faintly disguised autobiography on the NeoCons up to that time. I am now in the process of adding to the original, with changes to include the real names.  

The Honesty Bond has never been more necessary.  

No politician should stand for election without being bonded to support and adhere to the Constitution.

The Pledge

I will uphold the Constitution, as written and understood by our Founders.
I will uphold the 10th Amendment, as written and understood by our Founders.  
If I fail in at any time I understand I will be removed from office and pay the penalties exacted by the Honesty Bond I signed, a debt of honor owed to the people.  



Today holding politicians accountable has even more appeal to me than it had in 1993. Thus was born the Honesty Bond.

The Honesty Bond is intended to provide voters with a way to enforce fulfillment of the promises flowing so lavishly from the lips of candidates before they have transformed themselves into elected officials. The Bond provides a means for removing from office those who deceive their trusting constituents. If applied vigorously Honesty Bonds could turn the tide of dishonesty in American politics.  

Why would any candidate agree? First, some candidates are honest. These individuals will be relieved there is a means to exact a simple standard for doing the right thing. Others will appreciate the opportunity to win support over incumbents who refuse to be accountable for their promises. These will be nudged into honesty.

Motives will not alter the fact we have a tool directly controlled by voters who desperately need leverage to call government into account.

The Honesty Bond remains in force the entire time the elected official is in office. It is just like bonds maintained routinely by such professionals as accountants, brokers, insurance agents, and house cleaners. The candidate pays for the bond. The bond money is used to remove the elected official from office, if he does not leave voluntarily. The specifics hinge on state law for each state. We can get all of them. 

Recycling is a good idea. And honesty in politics is an idea whose time is ripe. This time we put in the teeth and so provide a tool to take America back.  

Melinda Pillsbury-Foster