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By Roz Rogoff

About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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Representing me or my money?

Uploaded: Apr 25, 2016
When the founding fathers wrote the original Constitution they included instructions on how to apportion representatives from each state. "The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature."

So Representatives are supposed to represent the people of their State and Congressional District. That seems pretty clear in the Constitution. That's probably how it worked in the early Federalist period and throughout the 19th Century.

As the country grew and more states were added and the size of Congress grew, the number of residents represented by each Representative increased. For example Montana has one Congressional District for the whole state. Representative Ryan Zinke represents 1,023,579 residents (based on 2014 estimates).

Rhode Island has 2 Congressional Districts with about 550,000 in each. So residents of Rhode Island have greater access to their Congressperson than residents of Montana.

I received an email today from Nancy Pelosi. I get emails from both sides. Rep. Pelosi asked me to contribute to a congressional race in San Diego. I'm not even a registered Democrat and Pelosi is trying to get me to contribute to elect a Congressperson hundreds of miles away. At least he is in California.

While I was writing this blog, "60 Minutes" did a segment on the amount of time Congressional Representatives spend raising money. The story didn't say whether the candidates profiled called only their constituents or anyone on a list who might contribute no matter where they lived or which party they belonged to.

Campaign fund raising has become professional fund raising. I get a lot of letters from animal rescue groups that have my return address and a bar code on the back of the return envelope for donor tracking.

The sales techniques applied to Congressional fund raising are the same as charitable fund raising. It's a business full of consultants, charlatans, and maybe a few dedicated supporters of the cause.

My mother uses the Charity Navigator website to check a charity's rating before contributing. I started using it too, but now even Charity Navigator is sending me letters to contribute to them! A hand is out everywhere to grab my money.

Congress is trying to pass a law requiring members of Congress to spend more time working in their jobs than on raising money for reelection. How radical is that?
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Apr 26, 2016 at 9:17 am

I would be very happy to keep an eye on your money. Show me a sign and it ON!!!

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Apr 26, 2016 at 9:21 am

Correction: Nothing cheap about this one...I'll keep 2 eyes on your money! me out...put it all in a small paper bag and drop it by a tree that only I know about.

Posted by Billie, a resident of Mohr Park,
on Apr 26, 2016 at 11:55 am

Billie is a registered user.

Just think, all that time spent soliciting funding from regular citizens could be eliminated, at least in the US Senate. Ted Cruz, with some like-minded fellow Republicans, have been trying for years to repeal the 17th Amendment. That's the one which took the power away from gerry-mandered state legislatures and gave it to the voters to vote directly to elect their US Senators. Interesting how Republicans are always looking for ways to restrict voting and eliminate voters.

Too bad it's not the popular vote that actually elects our President.

"The War Against the 17th Amendment" Web Link

Posted by Billie, a resident of Mohr Park,
on Apr 26, 2016 at 12:32 pm

Billie is a registered user.

Just a little side note. Since 2001, Congress has averaged 139 "legislative days" a year for that $174,000 base salary they've given themselves. That leaves them around 226 days, or about 2/3 of the year, to do other stuff. With fundraising supposedly encroaching on those few days a week/year a member of Congress should be expected to actually work, it's no wonder they are viewed as a "Do-Nothing Congress". They really do . . ."Do-Nothing"!

"How Many Days Does Congress Work a Year?" Web Link

Posted by, a resident of San Ramon,
on Apr 26, 2016 at 11:57 pm

I received an email from Charity Navigator thanking me for my comments about their service and saying that I can opt out of contributing.

"At any time donors can request to be removed from our physical mailing or email lists. Please let me know if you would like me to remove you from our current mailing lists and I will be happy to do so."

So I replied to take me off the mailing list. I probably will donate to them again, but I don't want to be on the list.


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