In this campaign season "Trust Me" is the message of every candidate's TV ad -- a proposition Dean Reynolds now puts to the test:
If you're lucky enough to live in Iowa or New Hampshire, political ads are just about all you see on television now. After a while they all begin to sound the same.
Except for this one:
"Hi, I'm Gil Fulbright, and the people who bankroll my political career tell me I'm running for President. So here I am! ... I may not be qualified to be President, but a dramatic camera angle can make me LOOK like a president -- a president with the conviction to nod, the courage to point. ...
"Ideas, policies, morals? These are things I don't need. What I need is $2 billion."
"Honest Gil" Fulbright isn't a real candidate. He's an actor, and Gil's campaign for the White House is a satire that's been viewed more than three million times on social media.
It makes you chuckle, but there is a serious point to his pitch.
"He's just shining a light on how politicians are routinely being bribed by special interest lobbyists, and swaying their votes in their favor, and the people who are left out are we, the American people," said Josh Silver, the director of represent.us, the grassroots organization behind Gil Fulbright that's working to pass laws combating the influence of moneyed interests in American politics.
"To be successful," said Reynolds, "you would need to have these guys in Congress vote against their self interest, right?"
"Well, that's why we're doing what we're doing," Silver said.
He's talking about the strategy to basically end-run Washington and begin by focusing on local government -- building a movement from the ground up.
"We know that Washington is not going to fix this problem any time soon," Silver said. "They don't fix anything any time soon these days! The only place that there's a bright light right now is in the cities and states."
From its office in Florence, Mass., represent.us brought together an unlikely alliance. The group's advisors include Republicans, Democrats, prominent members of Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party -- even disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who served several years in federal prison after being convicted of conspiracy to bribe Members of Congress.
Dan Krassner, the political director of represent.us, sees it as a bipartisan issue: "I'm a Republican, and conservatives are fed up with the amount of corruption, the fraud, the waste and abuse in government. We're all essentially paying a corruption tax because of those problems in government. So we want reform."