Those who question whether campaign contributions really boost access to lawmakers should probably spend more time listening to the people who make it their business to know this area: Washington lobbyists.
K Street lobbyists are already opening their wallets for 2018, Roll Call reports. And Heather Podesta, a top Democratic bundler, explained why she’s encouraging her contacts to contribute.
“Writing a check or raising funds brings you to the table in a different way than door-knocking does,” said Podesta, who has lobbied for Pepsi and Uber, among others. “You’re just more closely connected with issues and people.”
So take it from someone who knows: Raising money gives you a lot more access than volunteering for a campaign.
The typical line from those who defend this system is to say that contributions may get you in the door, but you won’t get anything concrete out of that unless you can make a good case for your issue on the merits. But that’s silly. Getting in the door may not be everything, but it’s half the battle. If it’s a lure for potential contributors, they must know it carries some value. And that raises the question of why everyone else shouldn’t get the same level of access.