Press Releases

Rep. Ken Calvert Lands on ‘Most Corrupt’ Politicians List

May 22, 2024

Calvert has taken over $5 million from corporate special interests

Calvert abused federal earmarks to boost his personal real estate investments

End Citizens United (ECU), a grassroots campaign finance reform organization, today inducted Representative Ken Calvert (CA-41) to its inaugural list of ‘Most Corrupt’ politicians running for reelection. The initiative is aimed at exposing and defeating the most egregious perpetrators of corruption in Washington.

“Congressman Calvert epitomizes everything that is wrong with Congress,” said End Citizens United President Tiffany Muller. “He shamelessly abuses his position of power for personal financial gain and has effectively put a price tag on elected office. Over his 30-plus years in office, Congressman Calvert has exhibited a disturbing and detailed pattern of prioritizing his own interests and the interests of his big donors over the needs of his constituents. We’re going to hold him accountable by exposing his record and engaging with voters through Election Day to make sure they know just how corrupt he is.”

Calvert’s three-decade tenure in office has been marked by corruption and self-dealing, prompting multiple FBI investigations. Calvert, who continues to work as a real estate investor, has blurred the line between his duties as an elected official and his personal business dealings. On multiple occasions, Calvert earmarked federal taxpayer funding towards projects that benefited his personal real estate investments, like funding a road near his lands and a transportation hub near seven parcels he owned. He then sold the land at an 80% profit, helping his net worth increase by up to $20 million while in office.

Moreover, Calvert has taken over $5 million from corporate PACs alone. His record consistently aligns with the interests of these donors, voting for bills slashing taxes for corporations and the ultra-wealthy. Calvert has taken $65,000 from the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries and has voted repeatedly to repeal the Affordable Care Act and voted against legislation to make prescription drugs cheaper. Similarly, he has taken nearly $500,000 from the fossil fuel industry while voting against incentives for renewable energy despite the Coachella Valley’s unparalleled potential for renewable energy.

Throughout his time in office, Calvert has vehemently opposed good government legislation to root out corruption and get big money out of politics. He voted against the Freedom To Vote Actthe Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act, and the DISCLOSE Act, while backing legislation to increase the influence of big money in politics. Calvert also voted against creating the Office of Congressional Ethics––an independent nonpartisan entity designed to review allegations of misconduct––and voted to limit its power.

ECU will highlight Calvert’s record of corruption and will work to engage voters and the media between now and Election Day, including in a new digital video released today.

ECU is dedicated to combating the two biggest challenges facing our democracy: the corrosive impact of Big Money and attempts to block access to the ballot box. Since its founding in 2015, the group has had over 1 million donors and raised $200 million, with an average donation of just $14. The group has more than 4 million members nationwide.