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Steve Chiotakis: The election’s over, time to think now about swearing in. But before the officiating starts, incoming Democrats are at this very moment learning the value of money in politics. Congressmen John Dingell is co-hosting a fundraiser for the freshmen today. Here’s Marketplace’s Nancy Marshall Genzer.
Nancy Marshall Genzer: Today’s lesson for incoming Democrats: You scratch my back, I’ll give you money. Michigan Democrat John Dingell is fighting to keep his chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. California Democrat Henry Waxman wants the job.
The freshman Democrats get to vote on the chair. Dingell’s fundraiser will help pay off their campaign debts with lobbyist donations.
Joan Claybrook is president of Public Citizen. She says lawmakers are being corrupted before they even take office.
Joan Claybrook: The new members are the most vulnerable. They are the most in need of money, and they often have a debt when they come to Congress.
Sunlight Foundation senior fellow Bill Allison says some members host their own fundraisers this time of year, many with a holiday message.
Bill Allison: Seasons greetings, and maybe it’s a good time for a lobbyist to donate to a member of Congress.
Congressman Dingell’s office issued a statement. t says, in part, that Dingell understands the importance of helping members retire their debt quickly.
In Washington, I’m Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.
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