Rep. Rick Nolan, Rep. Mike Gallagher Introduce the Go to Washington, Go to Work Act – Banning Federal Officials and Candidates from Campaign Fundraising Activities While Congress is in Session
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) Members of Congress and candidates for Congress would be prohibited from participating in any and all fundraising activities while Congress is in session under the “Go to Washington, Go to Work Act of 2018” introduced today by U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN-08) and U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI-08). The bipartisan measure would prohibit members of Congress and candidates for Congress from attending, speaking, and participating in political fundraising efforts and at fundraising events for their campaigns while the Congress is in session.
The two lawmakers explained that their bill is intended to put an end to the extraordinary amount of time members of Congress spend in Washington fundraising for reelection instead of going to work on the people’s business in Washington.
Gallagher and Nolan said that in their view, a ban on fundraising while Congress is in session would constitute an important step forward in controlling the cost of congressional campaigns. According to the Campaign Finance Institute (CFI) the average cost of a congressional campaign (House and Senate spending averages combined) has increased over the years to more than $10 million (see graph), with a growing number of races doubling that amount.
“It’s time to change the way we do politics, and restore people’s confidence in our great American democracy,” Nolan said. “The massive amounts of money in politics and time being spent fundraising is denigrating members and candidates, and it’s discouraging good people from running for public office. It has turned members of Congress into middle-level telemarketers dialing for dollars. As a result, this Congress is the most unaccomplished, undemocratic and unremarkable in our country’s history. We are elected to go to Washington and go to work on the people’s business. That’s what being a member of Congress should be all about. ”
Rep. Gallagher said, “Our nation was founded on the principle that government should be by the people and for the people, not government by and for special interests. Over the years, members of Congress have strayed from this founding principle by focusing on fundraising for their next election rather than doing the people’s work.” He continued, “As a result, our nation’s problems have grown worse, and people’s trust in government’s ability to fix them continues to shrink. The common sense reforms in this bill are critical to helping reduce the influence of money in politics and get Congress working again.”
Gallagher and Nolan pointed out that the bill specifically:
· Applies to both sitting members of Congress and candidates for congressional office. The bill does not apply to candidates for state, local or other elected office outside of Congress.
· Requires that candidates for Congress and sitting members of the House and Senate be subject to the prohibition only on days in which their respective bodies are in session. However, if a member of the House is a candidate for Senate office, the prohibition would apply also on any day the Senate is in session.
· Applies to any day the House or the Senate is in session – excluding ‘Pro Forma’ sessions. Days that are removed from the legislative calendar are not included. Days added to the legislative calendar are included.
· Participation of Members at a fundraising event on any day the House or the Senate is in session, including attending, speaking or being a featured guest would be prohibited. The previously enacted Campaign Reform Act, which prohibited Federal candidates from soliciting so-called “soft” money included a special rule that Members “may attend, speak or be a featured guest at a fundraising event” suggesting that Congress views these actions as another form of soliciting funds.
· If enacted, the prohibition would apply to elections occurring during 2019 or any succeeding year.
Watch Rep. Nolan and Rep. Gallagher’s remarks HERE.