Help! Who Wrote the Greatest Congressional Fundraising Story of All Time?

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


In a post about the role of money in politics, Jonathan Bernstein tosses in this aside:

It’s absolutely ridiculous for Members of Congress to have built for themselves an expectation that they should spend four hours a day raising money.

(By the way: we have good reporting that such an expectation exists, and good reporting that Members spend way too much time raising money…but I have to admit I’m pretty skeptical of this four hours a day business. Do they really do that, day in, day out? Or do most of them reluctantly do a lot less (although still enough to cut way too much into their real jobs), but exaggerate it for the reporter’s notebook? Again, I’m not denying that it’s a big deal; just questioning the specific claim).

About eight or nine years ago (I think), someone wrote a phenomenal article about the life of a freshman member of Congress. As I recall, the reporter basically followed this guy around and documented the insane amount of time he spent on fundraising, including the two or three hours each evening spent in a basement cubicle provided by the RNC (or DNC). The cubicle contained a chair and a phone, and the congressman went down there daily armed with a list of a hundred calls to make, provided by his staff. And then he started dialing.

But where did this piece appear? The Washington Post? The New Republic? Those seem the most likely places to me, but I haven’t been able to find it in either place. And it’s a shame. It was a great piece, and I’ve wanted to reread it ever since. But I can’t remember who wrote it or where it appeared, and I also can’t remember enough unique search words to google it.

Help me, hive mind, you’re my only hope.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate