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David Jolly “speaks the truth” on fundraising reform

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U.S Rep. David Jolly‘s quixotic “Stop Act” proposal to bar sitting members of Congress from raising money on the job may have gotten him in hot water with some in his party, but it also seems to have won him some admirers in the press.

The plan at least “deserves a look,” writes Dana Milbank of the Washington Post.

Jolly speaks the truth. Lawmakers know what needs to be done to clean up the corrupt system — but nothing happens. Democrats talk about overturning the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision allowing corporations and unions to spend unlimited sums on politics. But that ultimate fix isn’t happening soon…

That’s why Jolly’s idea deserves a look. He calls is congressional reform, not campaign finance reform. The goal: the get lawmakers to spend more time lawmaking.

“We’re here three days a week, and half your time is spent raising money,” he said. “In the face of growing crises around the globe, you’ve got a part-time Congress.” This, he said, “is a first-rate scandal.”

Milbank says the idea has gotten flak from both sides of the aisle, with Republicans saying they don’t want to end the gravy train which finds them with cash advantages over Democrats more often than not, and liberals saying the act doesn’t go far enough, because congressional staffers would still be able to do their members’ “dirty work.”

But Jolly, a former lobbyist and longtime staffer to the late congressman C.W. Bill Young, continues to agitate. He said he’s not paying his $400,000 in dues to the NRCC, and he said “I don’t buy the notion” that he needs mores sponsors before House leadership grants a hearing on his bill.

Jolly is a potential ally of Democrats on campaign finance reform, saying Citizens United “could revisited” and “we can do better.” Until then, surely more members on both sides can see the virtue of his cause. “You think you get elected to represent 700,000 people,” he said. “But you actually got elected to be one more marble on our side of the aisle to keep the majority, and to do that you’ve got to raise $2 million — and that makes members angry.”

Or at least it should.

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at

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