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Bad Congress, No Money for You

That sound you hear? The death rattle of the "campaign contributions don't buy policy" argument courtesy of this article on the decision by the National Association of Home Builders to stop giving campaign contributions to members of Congress because they didn't get the provisions they wanted in a recent bill.

Fundraised Out

Rep. Chris Murphy (D-CT) wrote earlier this week about the enormous amount of time he, as a legislator, must devote to fundraising for his re-election campaign. Further proof of the dominance raising money has come to assume in the lives of members of Congress comes in the form of Rep. Darlene Hooley's (D-OR) announcement today that she will retire from Congress. She cited the demands of fundraising as part of her reason for stepping down.

All For It

The Hill interviewed Democratic lobbyist Jack Quinn for today's issue and after prodding him on his contributions to Democratic presidential candidates they took his temperature on the latest lobbying restrictions and on what changes he might make to how campaigns are financed. His answers help show the real breadth of support for full public financing of campaigns.


Put Congress Back to Work

This op-ed by Rep. Chris Murphy (D-CT) on brutal chase for campaign money that eats up his time as a legislator ties together many of the themes his colleagues have touched on about the harm such excessive fundraising causes and makes a strong argument in favor of full public financing of congressional campaigns.

The Season and the Reason

Go read this article and tell me there's a not a relationship between lobbyists donating to members of Congress and getting special access to that Member to talk about whatever policy they're pushing. It's fundraising season and K Street denizens are dusting off their pet projects, opening their wallets, and preparing to digest a lot of rubber chicken.

The Politico
lays the scene:

Dear John

Dear John,

It's over between us.


Hedging his bet

In yesterday's Congress Daily, we saw that Rep. Richard Baker (R-LA) will be resigning from Congress to become president of the Managed Funds Association, a hedge fund trade association:


Cross the Aisle for Clean Elections

Control Congress is a website hosting bipartisan discussion on what Congress ought to be working on. Contributor Jack Lohman devotes this post to puzzling out why there isn't more cross-aisle agreement on the subject of full public financing of elections, given the success of Clean Elections systems in both Democrat and Republican-dominated states.

Pride or the PAC

Just as presidential candidates must choose between principle and viability when it comes to opting into the public financing program, opposition from within his own party and from Democrats in next year's election is forcing Rep. Wayne Gilchrest to abandon his opposition to taking PAC money just to stay competitive.

Gilchrest wants to keep his seat but well-funded rivals aren't making it easy to do so and stick with his fundraising principles:

Which Washington For You?

Trent Lott is not alone in cashing in his Senate office chips for a seat at the lobbyist's high rollers table. As Joel Connelly of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer notes in this column on the other Washington, many a lawmaker has heard the siren song of power and profit margins calling them away from public duty and accountability.

The recent lobbying overhaul bill which aims to break up the tight-clutch slow dance between Congress and corporate lobbyists has decades worth of growing lobbyist influence to overcome: