We all knew Citizens United was a catastrophe.
But who could foresee that--as surely as an atomic bomb—the Supreme Court ruling would scatter deadly fragments in every direction and ultimately destroy our legislative branch of government?
According to an April 24 story on Sixty Minutes, the United States Congress is fading away before our eyes. This once-illustrious body is now too hamstrung to work normal hours . . . . too involved elsewhere to spend time crafting laws . . . too anxious about its own survival to meet with constituents. If you demanded the truth, a few members might actually tell you: we no longer have time to do our Congressional work.
Instead, these formerly-statesmanlike members are across the street Dialing for Dollars. And why across the street? Because it’s illegal to make fund-raising calls from a Congressional office. Knowing this, each party has established its own, very handy money-raising building, and official Congressional work is scheduled around this chore.
New initiates to Congress are quickly given their marching orders: You must spend thirty hours a week raising money . . . some for the party, some for you. To fail in this task is to bring down a hammer. Senators and House members have no choice: to keep their jobs and maintain standing within their party . . . well, do the math. They now spend six hours of each workday making telephone calls, begging constituents for money.
Before Citizens United, this was not the case . . . back then, members of Congress did their fund-raising a mere one to two hours a day.
Citizens United, the ruling that allowed billions of secret corporate dollars to flow into Super Pacs that buy influence within the government, currently means that no congressional office is even vaguely secure. If you rudely support a law that one corporation or another doesn’t like, millions will be spent on your opponent. Ultimately it means your job is here today, but gone tomorrow. So the 100-million that each Congressman spent getting elected is no longer relevant. Today’s members are directed to a tiny telephone booth, where they must take up the phone and are pressured to raise $18,000 a day--make that each and every working day.
Does anyone keep track?
Oh, yes. A billboard in the Republican lobby—crass and huge--posts names of Congressional members and the amount he or she has raised.
No wonder only 14% of the public thinks our Congress is doing a good job. If only they knew . . .
Unfortunately Sixty Minutes gave us the facts but didn’t emphasize the consequences-- that American tax money, $174,000 plus benefits--per each member of Congress per year--is now lavished on a representative who works only two hours a day.
If ever there was a need for a Constitutional Amendment to rid ourselves of an onerous Supreme Court ruling, the time is now.
As of mid-May—“HIGHER THAN EAGLES” and “DAMN THE REJECTIONS” will both be available in paperback form on Amazon.
Or autographed, through me, on Maralys.com.