Tuesday, April 26, 2016

60 Minutes segment on Congressional fundraising called "ridiculous ...and bad journalism"

On April 24th, the 60 Minutes TV news magazine on CBS aired a segment on "Dialing For Dollars." The piece contends that members of Congress are "required" to spend up to thirty hours per week fundraising for the Party, at call centers two blocks away from Congressional offices. The 60 Minutes piece highlighted freshman GOP Congressman David Jolly of Florida, who said party bosses "required" members to spend up to thirty hours per week raising money. The segment included Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minnesota, who confirmed the activity.

This morning, RNN conducted a twenty minute interview with Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-PA. His district spans many counties to include Potter and McKean. He called the report " ridiculous." Thompson said he had never been told to spend 30 hours a week fundraising. He further said that he was never told by anyone that fundraising was the primary responsibility.  Thompson called the segment "poor journalism." He said the piece was politically motivated to benefit Rep. Jolly.
Thompson: "Let me ask you do you think that interview played for him..." During the interview, Thompson said he spends about "an hour" per week on the phone fundraising when he is in Washington.
To solve the 'problem,' Rep. Jolly introduced the "STOP act," which would prohibit members of Congress from personally soliciting campaign funds, from anywhere. It only has six co-sponsors. It has a poor chance of passing.
We also reached out to Congressman Tom Reed. Due to a technical glitch on our end, we couldn't do the interview...but his Communications Director sent us this email:
Thanks for reaching out regarding HR 4443, the STOP Act.  While we can’t speak for everyone in Congress, we believe the suggestions from the news reports are not consistent with our experience. 
With that in mind, we can however, speak to Tom’s actions while in Washington.  His first priority is to serve the people of New York’s 23rd Congressional district, which is why he strives to remain accessible and responsive to his constituents.  In fact, he has held over 200 public town hall meetings throughout the district, since taking office in 2010. It’s also important to remember that Tom is an extremely active member for Congress and has a strong reputation for meaningful involvement in committee meetings, hearings, mark-ups and floor votes.  In addition, he has introduced over 29 pieces of legislation this Congress.
If you missed the 60 Minutes segment and are curious, click HERE. Both Reed and Thompson are seeking re-election.