North Carolina Congressman Worked to Get Big Money Out of Politics

American Promise honors the life and work of U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, a 13-term Republican congressman from North Carolina who died Sunday at age 76.

Jones was a longtime advocate for reducing money in politics. While in Congress he served as co-chair of the Campaign Finance Reform Caucus, called for repeal of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United and pushed for public financing of elections.

“The money up here is power,” Jones said in a 2005 interview with McClatchy News Service. “Power is money. It’s true for both sides. That’s what creates problems.”

American Promise President Jeff Clements said of Jones: “All at American Promise will miss Walter Jones, who served the people of North Carolina and the United States for years. He was a man of principle, repeatedly putting country and constituents above party. He and his family are in our prayers.”

Jones received the Congressional Leadership Award, “Courage for the Common Good and the 28th Amendment,” at the 2016 National Citizen Leadership Conference.

Clements shared the following remarks in presenting the 2016 award to Jones:

“We know it will take vision and leadership to win the 28th Amendment. And we also know it will take work in Congress that reflects the cross-partisan support in the country. We recognize that is not easy in Congress these days.

“Congressman Jones is a leader in this fight, helping to move several reform bills forward, leading the new cross-partisan Campaign Reform Caucus, and a co-sponsor of 28th Amendment bills. He is a champion of the 28th Amendment in the House, in his North Carolina district and across the country.”

Jones was a Democrat while serving in the North Carolina House but switched to the Republican Party and won election to the U.S. House in 1994. In addition to his work to get big money out of politics, Jones was an advocate for the Marine Corps and worked to reduce the federal debt.

The North Carolina congressman was placed in hospice after his health declined following a broken hip he sustained on January 14, according to his office.

His congressional office issued a statement about his policy work Sunday evening.

“Congressman Jones will long be remembered for his honesty, faith and integrity,” the statement said. “He was never afraid to take a principled stand. He was known for his independence, and widely admired across the political spectrum. Some may not have agreed with him, but all recognized that he did what he thought was right.”