John Oliver Takes On The Grossness Of Congressional Fundraising

We hire politicians to do a job–a job which we imagine will mostly be spent working on laws and bills and other things meant to help us, the people who voted for them. Hypothetically! In reality, a pretty large chunk of that time (anywhere from 25-75%) is spent hosting fundraisers and hanging out in call-rooms, calling up rich people on the phone like a telemarketer and asking for money! Why? Because they need that money to get re-elected, so that they can go back to Washington and spend their days doing even more fundraising.

John Oliver takes on that hot garbage in this week’s Last Week Tonight:

Oliver showed a clip of Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) discussing one of the worst side-effects of this fundraising, “For a Senate race, I’m not calling anybody who doesn’t have the chance of giving me at least $1,000. … So you got to imagine that the people I’m calling are folks that are making half a million to a million dollars, and they have fundamentally different problems than everybody else.”

“That is a huge problem,” Oliver explained, “because it cannot help but affect the way you see the world if you’re only calling donors rich enough that their main concerns are estate taxes or which Belgian kimono their cat will wear that day.”

Oliver notes that this is something both Democrats and Republicans say they hate and would like to stop doing…but that neither is willing to be the one to stop doing it first. And that, unfortunately, the one bill capable of actually ameliorating the situation–The Government By The People Act, which Oliver explains “would give tax credits and provide public funding for candidates by matching small donations at a ratio of about 6-1.” However, that Act would cost an estimated $500 million a year, and has basically no chance of ever being passed.

So, you know, that’s your government! Cheers!

[Last Week Tonight]