We’ve all heard the stories about how much time and effort members of Congress devote to raising money for re-election, so that next year they can return to Washington to once again start spending a lot of time raising money for re-election.
As an NPR story puts it, our senators and representatives have two jobs — they serve in Congress, and they work as a telemarketer, manning the phones two to four hours a day on average to raise money. The two parties have even established call centers near Capitol Hill so their members can dial for dollars.
“I think most Americans would be shocked — not surprised, but shocked — if they knew how much time a United States senator spends raising money,” U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin told NPR. “And how much time we spend talking about raising money, and thinking about raising money, and planning to raise money, and going off on little retreats and conjuring up new ideas about raising money.”
Take a minute to listen to the story. If you want to know why our elected officials seem so beholden to special interests, and why independence has become such a rare commodity in Washington, here’s a big part of the answer. Spending hour after hour, day after day begging other people for money would sap the soul out of anyone.
– Jay Bookman