"The tin cup Congress; in between fundraisers, they squeeze in a few hours to govern," Washington Monthly, May 1988
Washington Monthly, May 1988 v20 n4 p23(6)
The tin cup Congress; in between fundraisers, they squeeze in a few hours to govern. (includes related article on Walter F. Mondale) Stern, Philip M.
Full Text: COPYRIGHT 1988 Washington Monthly Company
[exerpt from] The Tin Cup Congress
Former Senator Charles McC. Mathias of Maryland
Mac Mathias's moderate stances often enraged more conservative members of the Republican party. But they made him popular with Maryland Democrats, and helped him win three successive Senate terms, beginning in 1968. Mathias's seniority made him the chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, which handles campaign-finance reform legislation. In 1986, Mathias chose not to seek reelection. A factor in that decision was what he called the "daunting" prospect of having to raise millions in campaign funds.
The need to raise money has now gotten so serious that the practice has grown up in the last several years of providing "windows" in the Senate schedule. A window is a period of time in which it is understood that there will be no rollcall votes. Senators are assured that they won't be embarrassed by being absent for a recorded vote. Windows usually occur between six and eight in the evening, which is the normal time for holding fundraising cocktail parties. The Senate majority leader says, "There will be a window between six and eight"--or between seven and nine, or whatever. That is a euphemism for saying that's the period in which you can go out and raise money while the Senate's in session.
I did one of those TV debates for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. I was shocked because one of the Chamber's people, in the course of the discussion, said, "You can't do away with campaign contributions because no public official would do anything for you. How would you ever get anything done?" In some circles that is really the naked truth--that is, this is an outright lever that you buy to get governmental action. And this person said so right on the air.