I Didn’t Get Elected to Be a Fundraiser

Posted by Aaron Scherb on January 23, 2015

Thumbnail for the fundraising ban campaign

Then-Representative (and now Senator) Chris Murphy (D-Conn) penned an op-ed with this title in 2008 lamenting the vast amounts of time Members of Congress have to spend fundraising. If he thought things were bad then, he had no idea how awful the permanent money chase would be now. The Citizens United decision in 2010 opened the door for corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections, and the SpeechNow decision shortly after paved the way for super PACs, both creating the need for Members of Congress to do more fundraising.

A leaked memo from a congressional campaign committee in 2013 suggested that Members of Congress should spend up to four hours fundraising every day, yet it mentions only doing 1-2 hours of constituent visits. With the average House Member having to raise at least $1800 per day for re-election, there’s no time to take a break. While Common Cause has strongly supported small-donor matching fund bills that could reduce the amount of time spent fundraising, the likelihood of anything passing in the short-term remains low.  So, what’s an alternative?

Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL) has launched a creative idea to encourage his colleagues, both Republicans and Democrats, not to fundraise in February (the shortest month of the year and 21 months from the next election). Instead, he is encouraging Members of Congress to focus on policy, constituent meetings, committee hearings (which Members sometimes skip to fundraise), and other official business. Taxpayers pay the salaries of Members of Congress, so we deserve our representatives to be spending their time on what they were sent to Washington to do instead of lining their pockets.

Please contact your Members of Congress to encourage them to participate in “Fundraising Free February” and spend their time on solving problems that our country faces instead of always fundraising.

Office: Common Cause National

Issues: Money in Politics, Ethics

Tags: Congressional Ethics

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