Looking at the approval ratings of Congress these days, you probably wouldn’t be surprised at just how low the Republican-controlled legislative branch ranks among the Capitol’s history. While a large factor in this decreasing appreciation lays in how many congressmen seem beholden to the lobbyists and corporations that funded their election campaigns over the voters who put them into office, a recent investigation has brought light to yet another malefactor in congressional status – fundraising. It seems that these days, representatives from both major parties spend a large chunk of their time raising money to stay in office.
Representative David Jolly of Florida explains that congressmen are seated in back rooms of their party’s headquarters and are drilled to cold call for donations. A “motivational” white board lays down that if a congressman has half a year until his election and he needs $2 million, he needs to earn at least $18,000 in daily campaign contributions. The congressman is given a basic biography of each person on the list, including the names of their family members, family history and donation history. He or she is then tasked with reading off of a script. Congressmen are expected to devote at least 30 hours each week in these call center sessions, to the detriment of any House scheduling.
So while the fine men and women may have promised to make change and improvements to their states and districts, the sad reality is that most of the money that could go toward improving infrastructure, education, the environment and feeding the hungry, winds up in the coffers of each political party’s election budget.