Jump starting the STOP Act with hopes of ending dialing for dollars

by Congressman Rick Nolan

On Sunday, CBS’s top-rated 60 Minutes program focused national attention on our STOP Act legislation to prohibit federal office holders from personally asking for campaign money.
Because we are the Republican and Democratic leads on the measure, Florida Republican Congressman David Jolly and I both appeared on the segment, where we explained that too many Members of Congress spend more time fundraising than doing the job they were elected to do.
The rules of the game are destroying people’s confidence in our system, discouraging good people from running for public office and perverting public policy. Reform must happen if our representative democracy is going to survive.
As we told 60 Minutes, recommendations by campaign experts that Members of Congress spend 30 hours a week raising money at ‘Call Centers’ near the Capitol take a terrible toll on Congress’s ability to solve problems and get things done. I’m a good fundraiser, but I don’t raise money on the taxpayer’s dime. I go to Washington to work for the people.
However, many others feel forced to go to Washington and raise money because elections are expensive, and history demonstrates that the candidates with the most money usually win.
To be clear, the STOP Act would still permit Members of Congress to attend fundraising events and speak to donors. Citizens would still be allowed to contribute to campaigns of their choosing.
However, the practice of “dialing for dollars” and making direct requests for money would be a thing of the past. It’s a simple, common sense fix that already applies to judicial elections in 30 states.
Our work to pass the Stop Act will also help build support for my Restore Democracy legislation - a blueprint for even more comprehensive campaign and elections reform.
The foundation of my legislative proposal lies in overturning the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision that opened the floodgates to billions of dollars in special interest money being secretly funneled into campaigns.
Our legislation would also put Congress on record supporting small donor-public campaign financing; limiting the campaign season; fully disclosing all campaign contributions; ending partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts; establishing national online voter registration and stopping voter suppression.
We also call for a return to Congress’s traditional process of Regular Order. Regular Order is the way we compromise and find bipartisan solutions by fully considering every idea and amendment under an open rule and affording each one an up or down vote.