Curing a Dereliction of Duty: Adjusting our expectations

The ire of many political activists is directed to alleged failings of Congress, but the underlying cause of this apparent dereliction of duty is often the result of changes that have occurred over the past 60 years in the funding of election campaigns. The tsunami of money that now floods our federal elections has forced members of Congress to spend more than 50% of their time in raising election funds; estimates of this time commitment run as high as 80%!

This forced reallocation of their time over the recent past has had severe consequences on the performance of Congress, and it shows up in the “dereliction of duty” issue: there is simply not enough time today for members of Congress to fulfill all of the responsibilities we have assigned to them.

So the real solution to apparent congressional dereliction of duty is to fix the campaign finance issue, rather than attempt to redefine congressional duties as some suggest. We

must reduce the heavy burden of fundraising that members of Congress struggle with

and which degrades our elections.

Act 2 will sharply reduce the flow of special interest money during elections, allowing only campaign contributions from voters residing in an election district. It will greatly improve the quality of our elections.

When this reform has been put in place, our election campaigns will be transformed and we can expect to see a stronger Congress fulfilling its constitutional duties. The relationship between voters and their constituents will be strengthened and the power of special interests muted.

Frank Keeney

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