Americans are paying their congressmen $174,000 a year, and for at least part of that time "they are shirking, shaking down the people for money" by being required to spend several hours a day making phone calls for donation to their campaigns and political parties, Rep. David Jolly said Monday.
"We all know the amount of money in politics," the Florida Republican, who is seeking the state's Senate seat, told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program
. "We have different ideas, different solutions. This is about the amount of time it takes to raise it."
Jolly appeared on the show after being featured on CBS's "60 Minutes" program Sunday night, when the program used a hidden camera to show the call center, which is located away from the congressional offices, as they are not permitted, by law, to make calls from their own offices to solicit funds.
"Their only goal is to get $500 or $1,000 or $2,000 out of the person on the other end of the line," Jolly told "60 Minutes" Sunday night
. "It's shameful. It's beneath the dignity of the office that our voters and communities entrust us to serve."
Jolly, who has since refused to take part in the fundraising activities, has introduced the federal Stop Act, which will prohibit sitting lawmakers in the U.S. government from soliciting funds.
"I've wrestled with conservative solutions to campaign finance," said Jolly. "This is more a congressional reform. In 30 states, judges who are on the ballot are prohibited from directly soliciting money. Our state legislators are prohibited from directly soliciting money."
The congressmen would still be able to campaign and appear at events, and could still have a campaign manager and others to operate committees if the bill is passed, Jolly said, but the lawmakers "would put down the phone and get back to work."
"If your issue is border security, national security, tax reform, you are frustrated because nothing is getting done, right?" he told the show. "That's because you have a Congress that's not even doing their job.
The "60 Minutes" segment showcased how congressmen got to the call centers and stay there for several hours calling donors and constituents, often going by a script, to raise money, and Jolly said Monday it's time for that to stop.
"If we cultivate the constructive anger of the American people that you have a part-time Congress and a full-time world, [and they are] failing to even show up and do their job, we can pass the Stop Act," Jolly said in the followup interview on Monday.
Show host Joe Scarborough, a former Florida congressman, called the system a "horrible process and I was horrible at it. I raised most of my money in the district face to face because I did not want to walk over there and sit in a cube and call these people."
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