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The fix is in. During an interview for a documentary series titled, The Swamp, Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY) revealed that Republican members of Congress must “pay rent” for revered legislative committee positions.
Each committee is ranked based on priority (aka. fundraising potential). The more coveted the committee assignment, the more money the representative must raise for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).
During the interview, Rep. Massie explained:
“The committees here are ranked based on how much money you can raise if you’re on that committee. An ‘A’ committee, you should be able to raise, you know, half a million dollars easily every election cycle from the lobbyists…”
“I’m on ‘B’ and ‘C’ committees, but they’re important committees to my constituents. The transportation committee, right? Our roads and bridges should be pretty important, right? It turns out, there aren’t a whole lot of lobbyists here in Washington, DC interested in roads and bridges though, and so it’s a ‘B’ committee. Veterans affairs? That’s a ‘C’ committee. What if people back home knew that taking care of our veterans was considered the lowest priority committee in Congress?”
The NRCC gives House Republicans written “cycle assessments” that detail the amount of money owed for their committee assignments. In other words, they invoice GOP legislators with a bill outlining how much “rent” is due.
Rep. Massie shared a copy of his “NRCC 2016 Cycle Assessment” with the camera crew:
“My assessment is $300,000. That’s what I’m supposed to pay to ‘rent’ my position on these three committees. And note: ‘your assessment is subject to change based on leadership roles.’ In other words, if you get more power here, they’re going to charge you more. And if you can’t pay today, just sign this piece of paper pledging that you will make this payment in full before the due date. In fact, they’ll fold this sucker up and stick it in your pocket on the floor of the House at votes, just to remind you that you owe some money, if you want to keep your committee assignment.”
“Renting committee assignments and chairmanships should be illegal. If you did this sort of thing in a city council meeting, or a state legislature, they would perp walk you in handcuffs in front of the evening news. But it’s legal here, because who is going to make a law stopping us?”
“… [T]he incentive structure is set up to get you to sell out to lobbyists, because they’re the only ones that have the currency you need, which is campaign dollars, to buy your committee assignment.”
Not surprisingly, the shakedown is happening on both sides of the aisle- the same “rent-paying” structure exists among congressional Democrats as well.
It’s time to take a stand. The American people aren’t being heard by their representatives because the game is rigged. Government isn’t broken. It’s “fixed.”