How do we get Congressmen to do their jobs instead of peddling influence all the time?

Congress is awful because members spend all day talking to rich people. Five hours a day of schmoozing and begging, every weekday, is a waste of their time, and takes away from doing their duties.

A good Congressman would be able to run on his record and get reelected without all that. But a little influence-peddling was an advantage, and then we elected jerks who’d rather peddle influence than do their homework, and now Congressmen are as miserably incompetent to run Congress as the USA’s ambassadors are to run embassies. Unfortunately, Congressmen aren’t just figureheads; incompetent or not, they still vote; they still call the shots.

There’s more to it than that. In the 1990’s Cliinton, Gore, and Gingrich cut “redundant” agencies that engaged in oversight of federal agencies, and provided information to Congress. The government is mismanaged, and Congress doesn’t know what’s going on.

Many politicians seem to want to go further. NASA has had its warnings about climate change rewritten (in the W era), the CDC has been prohibited from doing epidemiological studies on gun violence even as gun laws have liberalized. Politicians don’t want to know the real effects of their bills, because they are afraid they might find out they’ve been wrong?

But I digress. For this thread, let’s start with the begging and whoring and influence-peddling instead of doing their duties.

My previous thread on this led with a totally illegal proposal, so I’m going to start over ask for pitches to deal with this apparent problem.

Your own link says:

We’re not getting public financing of elections in my lifetime unless the whole system falls apart. But the system won’t fall apart. That’s as likely to happen as people needing guns to fend off a fascist government takeover.

But you know what? People were apoplectic about the rich controlling Congress at the turn of the last century as well. The solution then was reform movements to put in honest men. That never worked well for long. And today’s reform movement equivalent is called the Tea Party. It worked well for one election cycle and fairly well for a second, putting in candidates against the wealthy establishment’s wishes.

Be careful what you wish for. You may get it.

Ahhh, yes, a true grass roots movement, finally free of the shackles of wealthy patrons!

You misspelled “astro-turf sham”. Could happen to anybody.

I have a feeling you’re missing Exapno Mapcase’s point. Put “scare quotes” around his use of the word “reform” if it makes it any clearer.

I thinkthe Wolf Pac plan developed by Cenk Uygur and the Young Turks, to work towards a constitutional convention to create a 28th amendment getting the money out of politics attacks the issue directly and powerfully in a grassroots kinda way. I think it’s the best shot we have, to date.

OK, so what’s their plan, then? What’s the proposed text of their amendment? I’m sure it’s on that site somewhere, but it isn’t on the front page, nor on any well-labeled link on the page.

There’s a link to their plan cleverly concealed in a red box labelled “The Plan.” That page contains alink to the proposed amendment’s text, which I put down here:

That will pretty much destroy the economy, but at least we’ll have clean politicians! Maybe.

And they should learn that the term they are searching for is “personhood”, not “people”. It’s actually frightening to consider their complete lack of understanding as to why corporations are granted, for legal purposes. “corporate personhood”.

I think we all have a very clear concept of what it has morphed into, John. And whatever YOUR opinions on that, THAT’S the problem, for most folks. The legal fictions that have been created to protect business owner’s money may have to be revised, well, tough shit, really.

I don’t know if it’s possible to fix this. Congress critters will always be seeking reelection, which means they will be doing the bidding of whoever finances their campaigns. Plus, they’re afraid if they actually take any action on anything, they will not be reelected next time by constituents who disagree with their action. So. :smack:

What it has “morphed into” is up for debate. I would hope that “throwing the baby out with the bath water” isn’t. Or perhaps the better analogy is “we had to burn the village in order to save it”.

Such a plan, and all plans similar, fails because it only limits contributions to the campaign. To be successful you would have to start limiting free speech rights of individuals and corporations to run private campaigns. Well established congresscritters have well established FIHPS(friends in high places), and unspoken agreements would swiftly undercut any such law established.

Would it infringe on free speech to require that all donations to campaigns or PACs be transparent and identify the donor by name? Does the Constitution guarantee the right to anonymous speech?

I get it, you like corporations being able to dominate Congress, so you are pretending concern over the corporate personhood thing to preserve that. Something along the lines of “Corporations are not people, but can be sued, etc.” would work just fine while keeping corporations from moneying their way to power.

I don’t think it would do much good. Political ads are designed to create an an immediate emotional response, and most people won’t even notice the small blurb at the end stating "This ad was paid for by the Americans For Freedom And Puppy Dogs And Pretty Flowers Committee, only a small minority of those would bother to look up the AFFAPDAPF Committee to find out that the entire “committee” is paid for and run by Buck Pornogamian, and only the tiniest fraction of those will do a background check and find out that ol’ Bucky is CEO of Strip And Land Mines, Inc.

Ah, you are addressing PACs. I imagine the part of the amendment that says “All elections must be publicly financed” is intended to address that. But could be an issue there. If you could limit PAC donations as well as straight up donations, that would do the trick.

Another question: is money speech?

Another problem is the definition of “Campaigning”. If an incumbent Congresscritter starts supporting high profile “feel good” measures that puts him in the news night after night, is that campaigning?

How do you limit high profile friends from talking up(or badmouthing) candidates when reporters and interviewers ask questions? The high profile friend has the same free speech rights as the guy on the street or the dude on the dock, but neither of those will reach the audience of the HPF.