Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 19, 2014

Supreme Court Decision Puts Members of Congress at Risk

Opinion:

While some national political party leaders are jumping for joy over the Supreme Court’s McCutcheon ruling eliminating the limit on the aggregate amount of political contributions a person can give, it may immediately increase the chances of members of Congress being dragged into corruption investigations.

Anytime you have legislators coming close to large political contributions of $100,000 or more from individuals or organizations concerned with, or benefiting from, legislative activity or regulatory actions, there is an immediate question or concern about the motives involved, sometimes leading to the appearance of corruption.

After the scandals of the unlimited soft money era, Congress wisely prohibited members of Congress from soliciting unlimited soft money contributions. Without immediate action, new joint fundraising committees will be quickly formed and members of Congress will again become the solicitors of contributions ranging into the millions of dollars. As currently done with PAC contributions, the Congressional leadership teams and leaders of standing committees of Congress may be given quotas of funds to be raised, and their regulated industry leaders hit up for large contributions.

To avoid the potential scandals and accusations of appearances of corruption, Congress should quickly pass legislation that would (1) prohibit members of Congress from soliciting, requesting, suggesting, recommending, directing, receiving or facilitating contributions of $100,000 or more to any joint fundraising committee; and (2) require joint fundraising committees to report to the FEC the receipt of any contribution of $100,000 or more, within 48 hours.

Even prior to legislation being considered, the four House and Senate leaders, as well as the six national party and Congressional campaign committees, should voluntarily adopt the policies. Their adoption may save more members of Congress than the new money may help elect.

To search detailed money-in-politics databases, visit Political MoneyLine.

  • Mark Montague

    “Appearances of corruption?” Just “appearances” with no actual corruption?
    You’re joking, right?

    This sort of thing is endemic to capitalism; every service or good is for sale to the highest bidder–and the sale table is chock-full of judges, politicians and policies. Anyone who can afford to purchase these things is free to do so.

    This is why there is no future in timidly trying to somehow “reform” capitalism or to rein in its worst features; the corruption (excuse me, the “appearance of corruption”) is an essential feature of the economic system with which we are currently saddled.

    Capitalism and democracy are simply incompatible with each other, in the long run. We will eventually be forced to choose between them.

    Let us hope we choose wisely.

    • Alan Colon

      Really? Then what other economic system empowers individuals and would better support a democratic republic?

  • erick

    Now the drug cartels and the wall street drug money laundering banks will buy control of the government.

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