The Ninth Annual Whistleblower Summit and Film Festival will feature over forty films and panels between July 28 and August 1st. Counted among them is Unrepresented, a documentary film by director and producer Daniel Falconer. Though it is less than an hour long, the film packs in an elaborate overview of the history, means, and impact of corruption on American democracy. Besides leading activists and academics, it features politicians and other government officials who are “blowing the whistle” on their firsthand encounters with political corruption. Interviewees represent concerned Americans on the left, right, and everywhere in between.
The arc of the documentary follows the elaborate chain of institutions and policies that facilitate corruption. It starts with the corporations that spend billions each year in campaign contributions to further their political agendas. But given the illegality of outright bribery, those corporations fund massive lobbying schemes to legally facilitate their dirty work. Indeed, the bulk of Unrepresented does not concern any sort of criminal wrongdoing. Rather, it focuses on the legal ways that corporations circumvent federal laws to advance their special interests at the expense of American democracy.
But that’s only the half of it. Where do spineless politicians get the funding to support corporate America’s demands, which oftentimes involve needless outsourcing to private contractors? Hint: it’s not out of your pocket. Instead, politicians merely raise the debt ceiling – “because unlimited federal debt means there’s infinite room in the budget for everyone seeking special favors to get what they want.” In other words, it insulates voters from the cost of corruption. Taxes need not go up and federal spending need not go down when the federal budget is toothless, if existent at all.
Though concerned and disillusioned, the film will also leave you hopeful for the future. Different solutions proffered by the left and the right as well as non-partisan initiatives by grassroots groups have taken hold all across the country to address corruption. As one speaker notes, whatever you think is the critical issue facing America, “you need to recognize that corruption is the first issue you need to address to be able to address” that issue.
After watching Unrepresented you will find yourself eager to rid America of political corruption and ready to join the fight to protect your democracy.