Banning Dialing for Dollars Will Not Fix Congress

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)