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Another Idea to Slow the Fundraising Arms Race Another Idea to Slow the Fundraising Arms Race

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Another Idea to Slow the Fundraising Arms Race

Following a controversial proposal from Rep. Lynn Westmoreland to reduce the number of fundraisers he throws, the Progressive Policy Institute has come out with its own idea to slow the fundraising carousel -- a "fundraising quiet period." 

In a policy brief released today, PPI executive director Lindsay Mark Lewis calls for banning fundraising for House members until the second session of Congress and making senators wait until year five of their terms before raising money. He argues that it would relieve legislators from constantly thinking about their next elections and improve relationships on the Hill.

The ban would be enforced by ethics rules and would be constitutional, Lewis argues, because it does not curtail anyone's ability to contribute, but only limits lawmakers' ability to accept donations. The ban would also have the practical effect of moving primaries until later in the year to give lawmakers more time to fundraise.
"The constant horserace over money (not ideas) has taken its toll on the quality of governance," Lewis writes. The quiet period "would help free up countless hours for lawmakers to learn the intricacies of policy, develop new ideas, and perhaps even talk to each other."
Lewis also weighed in on Westmoreland's once-a-quarter approach to fundraising, which has drawn criticism from good government groups, saying the Georgia Republican:

has bravely proposed a once-a-quarter fundraiser to lessen the burden of fundraising, both for him and for donors. But for many members, including especially vulnerable moderates who must raise substantially more money than their safer counterparts in order to keep their seats ... this kind of unilateral disarmament is tantamount to political suicide.  

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