Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter speaks at a news conference at the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015.
Chris Rank— Bloomberg Finance/Getty Images
February 3, 2016 12:50 PM EST

Much has changed in Washington since former President Jimmy Carter held the White House, but he says the biggest difference is in campaign finance, which he says now amounts to “legal bribery.”

In a conversation with John Humphrys, who previously interviewed Carter when he sought the Democratic nomination in ’76, Carter said he himself, a Georgia peanut farmer, could not have run for president in the current political climate.”I didn’t have any money,” he said. “Now there’s a massive infusion of hundreds of millions of dollars into campaigns for all the candidates. Some candidates like Trump can put in his own money, but others have to be able to raise, let’s say $100 to 200 million, just to get the Democratic or Republican nomination. That’s the biggest change in America.”

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Asked if this was a change for the worse, he said, “I think so, yes,” and cited what he called “the erroneous ruling of the Supreme Court” in Citizens United v. FEC. “Millionaires, billionaires can put in unlimited amounts of money directly into the campaign. In a way, it gives legal bribery a chance to prevail, because almost all the candidates, whether they’re honest or not, and whether they’re Democratic or Republican, depend on these massive infusions of money from very rich people in order to have money to campaign.”


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