Actor Kevin Spacey Says Networks Should Air 'Legitimate' Political Ads 'For Free'

By Nicholas Ballasy | November 12, 2010 | 3:26pm EST

Actor Kevin Spacey (AP Photo)

( Emmy award-winning actor Kevin Spacey, star of the new film “Casino Jack,” says he blames television networks “to some degree” for lobbyist influence on the political process. He says television networks should run legitimate political ads "for free" as a public service.

“Casino Jack” tells the story of former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who was sentenced to federal prison for fraud and corruption charges.

“Well, I think you have to separate the idea of that what lobbyists can do is be an informational conduit for Congressman and Senators to understand specific bills and specific issues in other countries but at the same time, I think that there is no doubt that the amount of influence and power and money dampens the political process. I think it discourages people from public office,” he told at the E Street Cinema before the Washington screening of the film sponsored by the Creative Coalition.

“I think it discourages people to feel as good about public service as they should and I think that this film is attempting to, in a comedic and entertaining way, highlight some of the hypocrisy that we’ve seen that certainly we saw during this particular case and that is much as that they’d like to pretend that they’ve cleaned up the lobbying industry by throwing this guy in jail, they haven’t. It’s still got too much influence and you know, to some degree I blame the networks.”

Spacey says television networks should run political advertisements for free as a public service.

“I think if network television started to agree to run legitimate ads that you knew were true, if you’re going to say something about a rival, it can’t just be dirt. I think if they started to run these ads for free and were a part of being a public service, well then maybe some of this corruption, some of this insistence on raising ridiculous amounts of money, primarily for television ads would go away and maybe we would start electing people on ideas instead of on how much money they had in their coffers.” also asked Spacey if President Barack Obama should have kept his campaign promise not to hire any lobbyists in his administration. Over 45 former lobbyists have reportedly been working in the Obama administration.

“It’s not surprising that lobbyists – as much as a particular politician or a particular president might say, ‘I don’t want to have it that way,’ you know, until the public starts to get angry enough about this, politicians aren’t going to change it. The public’s got to change it,” said Spacey.

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