John Kerry, the richest U.S. senator, railed against the "corrupting" power of money in politics in his farewell address today on the floor of the United States Senate:
"There's another challenge that we must address and it is the corrupting force of the vast sums of money necessary to run for office," said Kerry. "The unending chase for money I believe threatens to steal our democracy itself. I've used the word 'corrupting' and I want to be very clear about it: I mean by it not the corruption of individuals but a corruption of a system itself that all of us are forced to participate in against our will."
The next secretary of state added, "We should not resign ourselves, Mr. President, to a distorted system that corrodes our democracy, and this is what is contributing to the justifiable anger of the American people. They know it. They know we know it. And yet nothing happens. The truth requires that we call the corrosion of money in politics what it is -- it is a form of corruption and it muzzles more Americans than it empowers, and it is an imbalance that the world has taught us can only sow the seeds of unrest. Like the question of comity in the Senate, the influence of money in our politics also influences our credibility around the world. And so, too, does the difficulty -- the unacceptable and extraordinary difficulty we have in 2013 operating the machinery of our own democracy here at home."
Kerry is leaving the Senate to be the next secretary of state, a position that will have him flying around the world and speaking on behalf of the American people.
Kerry is estimated to be worth $193.07 million dollars.