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GOP Congressman: Time Lawmakers Spend Raising Money Amounts to 'Political Scandal'

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WASHINGTON – Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.) has vowed to press forward with a bill that would relieve members of Congress from the pressures of directly soliciting campaign donations so they can spend more time working on behalf of their constituents on Capitol Hill.

“It simply says no member of Congress, the House, the Senate, the vice president or the president may directly solicit a campaign contribution – that includes in-person, that includes a phone call, that includes e-mail, that includes websites. It removes the member of Congress from the solicitation,” Jolly said at the National Press Club in Washington.

“One of the great political scandals of our time is the amount of time your members of Congress are spending raising money and not doing their job –and, understand, not even in their office, because it’s illegal to raise money in your congressional office. They’re not even there because of the pressures to raise money – they are outside of their office. So I’m focusing on the congressional reform,” he added.

Jolly continued, “Let the campaign raise the money and let members of Congress get back to work.”

The Stop Act would prohibit lawmakers from directly seeking contributions from donors and only allow them to attend fundraisers.

“The American people get the Stop Act. You know what else they get? Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) and I have a bill to put members of Congress on the do not call registry – that gets 100 percent affirmation,” Jolly said. “I often talk about the British model of taking political ads off of television – that gets a 100 percent response at home. Good policies do make for good politics, but the focus is on driving the good policy. The politics will take care of itself.”

Jolly, who is vying for the GOP nomination to fill the Senate seat being vacated by Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), signaled a willingness to work on a bipartisan campaign finance reform bill after the Stop Act passes Congress.

“I would be open to working on a bipartisan campaign finance reform package that balances the constitutional privileges of anybody to participate in an election with reasonable restrictions,” he said.

Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.), a co-sponsor of the Stop Act, said the Citizens United Supreme Court decision should be reversed.

“That’s what unleashed these massive amounts of secret money and required candidates to raise massive amounts of money to defend themselves and get their message out,” he said.

Nolan said he would like to see “limits on campaign spending” as well as limits on “the time when campaign spending can take place.”

Regardless of what happens with Citizens United, Nolan said the Stop Act is needed right away so members of Congress are able to focus on doing their job instead of “dialing for dollars” across the street from the Capitol building at call centers.

“It’s very disruptive and destructive of our whole public policy process and the system,” he said.