Today, Rep. Dean Phillips (MN-03) introduced the On the Clock Act a bipartisan bill that would prohibit members of Congress from directly soliciting campaign contributions while their respective chamber of Congress is in session. Rep. Phillips introduced the bill with Rep. Mike Gallagher (WI-08).
"It is time to prohibit members of Congress from fundraising when they're supposed to be working for the American people," said Phillips. "Instead of listening to constituents and solving problems, too many of my colleagues are dialing for dollars and attending fancy lunches and dinners. In fact, our entire congressional schedules are arranged to make it easier for members to raise money throughout the day. The On the Clock Act won't fix everything about our broken campaign finance system, but it will force members to spend more time working and less time lining their campaign coffers."
An analysis of financial filings by the nonpartisan organization Issue One estimates that members of the House running for re-election raised $3,400 per day in the second quarter of 2022. In total, members of the House raised a whopping $207 million over the past three months. The On the Clock Act is a direct response to the extraordinary amount of time members of Congress spend fundraising instead of doing the work for which they were elected.
According to a 2017 Center for Public Integrity-Ipsos poll, 58 percent of respondents believe that members of Congress spend 10 hours or less a week fundraising. While members are not required to disclose how much time they spend fundraising, estimates indicate that this number is much higher and can be anywhere from 20 and 30 hours per week[ii]. Collectively, that equates to between 10,000 to 15,000 hours per week. Time spent fundraising is time spent away from the duties of a legislator. Those 20-30 hours a week spent "dialing for dollars" or attending fundraising dinners is time not spent directly engaging with constituents, building relationships with fellow lawmakers, and engaging in the work of being a member.
Rep. Phillips is on a mission to end the corrupting influence of money in politics. He is a founding member of the No PAC Caucus and is among the 3% minority of members of Congress who do not have leadership PACs.