Rick Nolan on '60 Minutes': Constant phone fundraising is 'discouraging'


Rick Nolan, who represents northeastern Minnesota in the U.S. House, appeared on "60 Minutes" Sunday to talk about money.

Specifically, how much time he and fellow lawmakers have to spend on the phone trying to get more of it.

The segment is called "Are Members of Congress Becoming Telemarketers?"

The program says that for the 2014 elections, congressmen raised more than $1 billion – much of it coming from spending hours every day on the phone asking people for money (which goes to the candidate, and also the party). That of course takes away time from actual lawmaking.

Here's video of the story:

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"60 Minutes" spoke with Rep. David Jolly, a Republican from Florida who is sponsoring a bill called the Stop Act. It would outlaw anyone who is a a federal elected officials from soliciting contributions from people.

Basically, lawmakers could not spend their time fundraising.

The bill has six co-sponsors, five of them are Republicans – and the other is Nolan, a Democrat who served in Congress from 1975-1981, then took a long hiatus before coming back and winning the same seat in 2013. He told "60 Minutes" he "didn't hardly recognize the place" after returning.

Nolan says newcomers to Congress are told they will spend 30 hours a week trying to raise money by making phone calls.

More about money in politics

Stories about this have been written before, including by the Huffington Post, which in 2013 got hold of a Democratic leadership document suggesting four hours of phone fundraising a day – compared to two hours of work in committees or on the floor (the jobs they were elected to do).

Former Independent Rep. Tim Roemer wrote about the issue last year for The Atlantic, saying the time lawmakers spend on this type of fundraising usually ranges from about three hours, to more than half their working time during the busy parts of the election cycle.

So far, for the 2016 elections, Open Secrets says Democratic House candidates have raised $247.5 million. Republican House candidates, $318.9 million.

In a statement before the show's airing, Nolan's office called the effect of money on politics "corrosive."

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