Freshman Orientation

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It. Never. Ends. The Hill covers the sad reality of Washington: on the heels of promises to clean up Congress, freshman congressmen and women are out on the special interest fundraising circuit -- not because they want to be, but because if you want to survive re-election you have to raise money from the moment you win your seat, even before you're sworn in. If we want to win a Congress that works for us we have to get them off the fundraising treadmill with a full public financing alternative.

The system is designed to maintain the status quo. How can we get real change in Washington when each new leader we elect must, for the sake of job preservation, get sucked into the same cycle of fundraising, fundraising, fundraising. This, from Meredith McGehee at the Campaign Legal Center, sums it all up:

 

“It’s next to impossible for a freshman member to arrive in Washington and not become a part of the lobbyist fundraising system,” she said. “The minute you’re elected, the first thing you’re told is that you have to start working on your reelection because you’re vulnerable. I think the current campaign-finance system makes hypocrites of all of them.”

Rhetoric about ending corruption won't fix Washington, new policy that addresses the bottomless need for campaign cash will. It's time for Clean Elections for Congress.