By Kevin R. Kosar
I agree with the conventional wisdom that congressmen spend entirely too much of their time raising money. Like many viewers, I cringed at John Oliver’s dialing-for-dollars exposé featuring former Democratic Congressional Committee chairman Steve Israel—who described how our nation’s legislators act like telemarketers, sitting in squalid cubicles not far from the Capitol to call strangers and read a scripted pitch for money.
Representative Israel (D-N.Y.) was great at raising money, but he leaves Congress next month. He’d rather spend his time writing a novel and doing things other than begging strangers for money.
A few weeks after Oliver’s segment aired, CBS’s 60 Minutes did its own piece on this topic. Its star was Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.), whom nobody would mistake for Steve Israel. Jolly is a conservative who opposes Obamacare and is anti-abortion. But like Israel, he hates being forced to raise money. He has introduced legislation to ban dialing-for-dollars.
But as unseemly as dialing-for-dollars is, it’s profoundly mistaken to imagine that reforming campaign finance would “fix” Congress, as a member of the Federal Elections Commission recently claimed.... (Read more at the American Conservative)