"They might be rookies, but freshman Republicans are becoming Washington fundraising pros."
That fist line from a Politico story today pretty much sums it up. This class of GOP lawmakers ran largely on a platform of "changing Washington, D.C.," but as we can see, they've fallen right in line with the culture of constant high-dollar fundraising. Not only have they immersed themselves in the "inside the beltway" big money grab for themselves, they've also learned that they also have other funraising responsibilities.
“The biggest challenge to meet is raising money for the [National Republican Congressional Committee]. It’s the hardest to do; it’s the least pleasing to do. Then we raise money for the Young Guns program. For instance, my dues for NRCC is $70,000; for the Young Guns program, it’s $6,000 to $12,000. Then I have fundraising obligations for my own campaign.”
That's a quote from the article from class of 2010 Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), and it tells you all you need to know about how much time lawmakers spend raising money. The flipside of that, of course, is that there is much less time to do what they were elected to do. It's hard to craft and pass legislation that might get Americans back to work when you're stuck on the phone all day, or making the rounds at a special interest lobbyist-hosted fundraiser at a swanky D.C. restaurant. It leaves even less time to meet with constituents and get to know their concerns.
The story indicates that many, if not all, of these freshman lawmakers, as well as seasoned members of Congress, loathe all the fundraising they are forced to do. Maybe instead of complaining about it, they should do something about it. They could start by getting behind the Fair Elections Now Act (S. 750, H.R. 1404), which is currently before Congress.
The bill would allow federal candidates to choose to run for office without relying on large contributions, big money bundlers, or donations from lobbyists, and would be freed from the constant fundraising in order to focus on what people in their communities want.
Many class of 2010 lawmakers were sent to Washington with the promise of changing the culture on Capitol Hill. Passing Fair Elections would fullfill that promise in one single act.