What a Seat in Congress Costs, By the Hour

Just how much campaign cash do lawmakers have to bring in on a typical day? We did the math.

US Capitol: <a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Uscapitolindaylight.jpg">Kevin McCoy</a>/Wikimedia Commons

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Members of Congress gripe about how much time they spend asking for money. But just how much dough do they have to come up with while they’re not doing their day jobs? We did the math: Assuming they spent 40 hours a week focusing on finding funds, House members must raise, on average, $367 an hour; senators must come up with $819 an hour. Some of the most costly (and cheapest) seats on the Hill, by the hour:

 

10 Most expensive Senate seats

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif): $2,444/hour

Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.): $2,068/hour

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.): $1,875/hour

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.): $1,823/hour

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.): $1,812/hour

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.): $1,749/hour

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.): $1,685/hour

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.): $1,627/hour

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas): $1,611/hour

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.): $1,573/hour

 

Least expensive Senate seat

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah): $143/hour

 

10 Most expensive House seats 

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.): $3,391/hour 

Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio): $2,449/hour

Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.): $1,636/hour

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.): $1,489/hour

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.): $1,185/hour

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.): $1,128/hour

Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.): $1,128/hour

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.): $1,013/hour

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.): $981/hour

Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.): $925/hour

 

Least expensive House seat

 Rep. Todd Platts (R-Pa.): $55/hour

 

Mother Jones analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics. Assumes 40 hours a week of fundraising, 50 weeks a year, for full term in office. Based on cost of members’ most recent election.

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Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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