Help! Who Wrote the Greatest Congressional Fundraising Story of All Time?

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In a post about the role of money in politics, Jonathan Bernstein tosses in this aside:

It’s absolutely ridiculous for Members of Congress to have built for themselves an expectation that they should spend four hours a day raising money.

(By the way: we have good reporting that such an expectation exists, and good reporting that Members spend way too much time raising money…but I have to admit I’m pretty skeptical of this four hours a day business. Do they really do that, day in, day out? Or do most of them reluctantly do a lot less (although still enough to cut way too much into their real jobs), but exaggerate it for the reporter’s notebook? Again, I’m not denying that it’s a big deal; just questioning the specific claim).

About eight or nine years ago (I think), someone wrote a phenomenal article about the life of a freshman member of Congress. As I recall, the reporter basically followed this guy around and documented the insane amount of time he spent on fundraising, including the two or three hours each evening spent in a basement cubicle provided by the RNC (or DNC). The cubicle contained a chair and a phone, and the congressman went down there daily armed with a list of a hundred calls to make, provided by his staff. And then he started dialing.

But where did this piece appear? The Washington Post? The New Republic? Those seem the most likely places to me, but I haven’t been able to find it in either place. And it’s a shame. It was a great piece, and I’ve wanted to reread it ever since. But I can’t remember who wrote it or where it appeared, and I also can’t remember enough unique search words to google it.

Help me, hive mind, you’re my only hope.

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This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

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