PPI Senior Fellow Jim Arkedis calls for members of Congress to take six-month timeout from raising money in Politico.
The 2012 election is over, but don’t tell Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.). No sooner were the votes counted that they were back on the campaign money chase within a week, raising cash for the November 2014 contest.
Even though the culture of unlimited political money was cemented by the Citizens United decision, it’s time we ask our elected representatives a crucial question: Will members of Congress ever stop campaigning?
Congress has a major task ahead of it in the coming session. Members must compromise to strike a delicate balance on spending cuts and revenue increases that begins to control the country’s debt, while consolidating fragile economic momentum and continuing to make necessary investments in the education, infrastructure, and energy sectors among others. Isn’t there something wrong when elected officials are already asking for reelection funds before attempting to achieve results the voters are clearly demanding?
Efforts to reform money in politics have gained traction of late. Many ideas are in the mold of McCain-Feingold bill of 2002: legislative or constitutional fixes that restrict the amount of donations or increase transparency.
In theory, these initiatives are sound. In practice, they’re less viable. In the current climate, it’s doubtful that Congress would vote to handcuff its fundraising prowess, and constitutional amendments are complex endeavors facing long odds. And as McCain-Feingold has proven, megadonors will always find legal loopholes, like super PACs.
Read the entire piece at Politico.