Colorado Republican Congressman Ken Buck is exposing congressional corruption in a new book, “Drain the Swamp: How Washington Corruption is Worse Than You Think.”
Tell-all books by former Members are nothing new, but what makes Buck’s book unique is he’s still in Congress when he wrote it — and he names names.
The Daily Signal reports:
“One of the things that I found startling when I got here is that you have to pay dues to be on a committee,” Buck said.
During the time he served on the House Judiciary Committee, Buck said he had to pay periodic dues of $200,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee, the campaign committee of the House of Representatives.
Inside sources confirm Buck’s claims. Members of Congress are expected, as part of their duties in Washington, to raise money for the Republican Party.
“Yes, if you don’t raise money for the Party they threaten to take your committee assignments and gently suggest they’ll find a way to primary you,” a Washington insider and former House staffer tells us. “That’s one reason the RNC is across the street from Cannon. Since you can’t make calls from your House office they have phones there. Members are told to take an hour each day to walk across the street and make fundraising calls — even if they need to raise money for their own campaign to hold the seat, or if they’re targeted by RNC insiders for defeat in a primary.”
“Paying the Party doesn’t guarantee you a committee seat because certain Members have to be on certain committees due to their background or what’s in their district, but paying the RNC gives you an inside track to getting lucrative committee assignments,” our insider says.
“Technically speaking, GOP leaders are selling House committee seats,” our insider says. “If a businessman wants inside access to a House committee, he can write a six-figure check to a congressman who wants a seat on that committee, then sit back and wait. I can’t speak for the Democrats, but I’m almost certain they do it as well.”
Members who refuse to spend their time in Washington working for the RNC are punished for placing constituent service first. Our insider worked for a congressman who was not allowed back on a committee after he refused to raise money for the RNC. “The committee was one where they stuck freshmen and ‘problem children,’ but after Sarbanes-Oxley, it became a prime fundraising opportunity. Returning members traditionally get their old committees back, but the Speaker refused to put him back on because he wouldn’t fundraise for the RNC.”
The practice may be highly unethical, but it appears to be legal. The individual writing the check to the RNC does not receive an “official act” in return, that goes to the congressman who raised the funds. Courts also give great deference to the House when it comes to writing their own rules and setting their own standards.
“This is on Paul Ryan,” our insider says. “Using his official powers to set committees as a fundraising tool is an abuse of power and public trust. He can stop this by simply picking up the phone or walking across the street and telling the RNC that House committees are no longer for sale.”