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Former Senate Leader Says Senators Spent Two-Thirds of Time Asking for Money Former Senate Leader Says Senators Spent Two-Thirds of Time Asking for...

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Congress

Former Senate Leader Says Senators Spent Two-Thirds of Time Asking for Money

Huge campaign needs drive senators up for reelection to put most of their time into raising cash.

(BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty Images)

It's not news that politicians spend much of their time, palms out, asking for campaign cash. But the sheer volume of supplicating that former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle described Thursday was a shock.

"A typical United States senator spends two-thirds of the last two years of their term raising money," Daschle said.

That figure even puts to shame the recommended four hours a day of "call time"—dialing donors for dollars—that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has recommended for freshman lawmakers.

 

Daschle explained his math this way: "A senator has to raise $10,000 every day that they're in office—every day of their six years—to make the average amount that's spent today in a Senate race." And those in competitive races have to collect even more.

Daschle and former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, speaking at a 2014 elections preview hosted by Future Civic Leaders, both cited the endless money chase as one of the growing reasons for unhappiness among lawmakers.

"Your fulfillment always has to exceed your frustration and, in a lot of cases, frustration has exceeded fulfillment for a lot of members of Congress today," Daschle said.

"They're raising as much money in a senatorial race as we used to raise for presidential races," added Hastert.

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