Begging for Money Instead of Doing Their Jobs
All members of Congress raise money for their election campaigns. What most Americans don’t realize is that once elected, they have to raise hundreds of millions for their political parties. Instead of working on legislation, your Senators and Representatives spend at over 4 hours a day (and up to 75% of their time) on the phone and at least another hour at fund raisers asking for money to pay “Congressional Dues”. While you are paying their salaries with your tax dollars, they are soliciting donations from big money special interest groups. Federal law prohibits fundraising in their offices but does not prevent fundraising while congress is in session, so Senators and Representatives walk down the street to either the Democrat or Republican telemarketing centers to spend hours on the phone soliciting money every day. Considering congress is only in session 138 days in the House and 165 days in the Senate, the amount of time dedicated to raising money is obscene.
Pressured into Pay to Play
Both parties (Democrats and Republicans) assess Congressional Dues which is a ‘pay to play’ environment. In 2016 new members of the House were expected to raise $18,000 PER DAY. The complexity of the work in congress requires different topics are addressed by different committees that focus on specific issues. Some committees hold more prestige than others and being a chairman of one of those committees is even more desired. To get a position on a committee requires raising more money. Getting to be the chairman of a high profile committee can require raising over a million dollars. If a congressman cannot or does not raise the targeted amount of money their name goes on a board of shame within the party and they can be subject to removal from the committee. If a member of congress doesn’t raise enough money their party can take credit for their work like a bill they created and give it to someone else that raises more money and choose not to support them in their re-election campaign.
It creates an environment where people who are good at fundraising get positions on important committees even though there are other legislators who have more expertise in the issues. It is not in the best interests of the country to have good telemarketers in charge of important issues instead of experts in the field, like doctors on the committee working on healthcare or people with farm backgrounds working on the farm bill. Pay to play rewards the wrong people.
Congressional Dues are raised by members of Congress by asking people for money. The amounts required to stay in good standing are so big there is no way your Senators or Representative can meet their dues by getting small donations from the average voter. The amount of money they have to raise forces them to get it from big donors special interest groups
When members of congress arrive in DC they are wined and dined by special interest groups. These people have been known to offer contributions big enough to ensure a spot on a key committee. Telemarketing call lists and scripts of what to say are provided by party officials. These calls lists are made up of names of people and companies who have given big donations in the past. Your Senators and Representative spend more time talking to people who represent big money than they do to regular citizens every day. They have to get substantial donations from these people to be able to have any influence in Washington. Big money contributors expect their concerns to be addressed. Think taxes are too high? – how about passing a tax cut. Too much regulations for your industry? – roll them back. Need a tariff exemption? – lets see what we can do. Your Senators and Representative are raising money from the very people they are supposed to be regulating. Those contributions get big money donors more influence than any regular citizen.
Only 17% of Americans Approve of the Job Congress is Doing and They’re Right!
Americans are fed up with congress saying they are out of touch with everyday citizens and only pay attention to big money and special interests. 90% of Americans believe elected officials listen more to deep pocketed donors than regular voters. Both parties are guilty.
Few bills are passed and budget deadlines are missed. The bills that are passed are not the result of intelligent debate or compromise. They are crafted behind closed doors by a select few only to be released hours before the final vote and passed by a party line vote. Huge issues like immigration reform, stabilizing social security and healthcare which impact citizens everyday life are left untouched. The tax cut package favoring big business and high wage earners was not supported by the majority of Americans. Congress is not working for the American people.
What can you do to help stop the practice of Congressional Dues?
Support political candidates who refuse special interest and PAC money. Tell your congressional representatives to stop raising money while congress is in session. Tell them to change the law!
You can do it on your own or you can use the link below to have Voice Big help you through the process. No matter what you decide to do be sure to pay attention to government and spread the word about stopping congressional dues.