Recently filed campaign finance reports help illustrate how raising campaign cash has essentially become a second full-time job for most members of Congress — especially those in competitive reelection races. But this nonstop fundraising treadmill comes at a steep cost.
“Politicians are elected to be public servants, not telemarketers,” said Issue One Founder and CEO Nick Penniman. “Most members of Congress know that hours spent dialing for dollars are hours diverted away from their legislative and oversight responsibilities. I’ve heard from many that they even feel trapped in a broken system that prioritizes constant fundraising and rewards amassing enormous political war chests. For Congress to be as responsive as possible to the American people, reforms must be adopted that incentivize policymaking, constituent services, and crosspartisan bridge-building, not just the fundraising treadmill.”
In a new analysis, Issue One has highlighted nine key numbers to know about congressional fundraising during the first quarter of 2023, based on our review of recently filed campaign finance reports that cover lawmakers’ financial activities between January 1 and March 31.
These new documents show that lawmakers are under intense pressure to raise money each and every day. Among Issue One’s findings are the following startling statistics:
- The typical member of the House of Representatives running for reelection in 2024 raised $205,000 — an average of about $2,300 per day.
- The typical House member running for reelection in a toss-up race raised $492,000 — an average of about $5,500 per day, or more than twice as much as the typical House member.
- The typical senator running for reelection in 2024 raised $1 million — an average of about $11,400 per day, or more than six times as much as their Senate colleagues who are not facing reelection next year.
- 91% of members of the 118th Congress have a leadership PAC, including 64% of the 74 freshman House members.
These numbers show that lawmakers — especially those in the most competitive races — remain under intense pressure to raise money each and every day.