Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Teamster congressman disturbed by DC obsession with money

Rick Nolan worked his way through college as a UPS Teamster and now, for the second time, represents Minnesota's 8th Congressional District. He served for three terms in the '70s, went back to farming, and returned to Washington in January after an absence of 32 years.

He's shocked by the changes since then. He finds that members of Congress don't know each other, don't pass legislation that matters and spend four hours a day raising money. Nolan finds the obsession with raising money "distasteful."

The Boston Globe reports,
Almost immediately after new members got into office, Nolan says, the DCCC began coaching them on fund-raising. A schedule from that session showed that they should spend four hours each day asking for money – more time than any other activity and more than twice the amount of time they should be spending debating issues on the House floor or hammering out legislation in committees. 
Nolan says he understood the impulse — the candidate with the most amount of money typically wins — but he was taken aback. He says he’s been reprimanded by Democratic leadership for not raising enough money. He says he has not set foot in a call center that the DCCC set up near Congress, where cubicles are lined up so that congressmen can come in and dial their donors without using congressional resources. 
“It helps dictate the ultimate decisions around here. We have a saying out in the country, ‘Who pays the fiddler gets to pick the tune,’ ” Nolan says. “Not only does it take away time from governance, but it has an equally adverse tendency to corrupt and pervert the public policy process.”
 Welcome to the plutocracy.