A recent Politico article outlined some of the lengths that members of Congress take in order to get their colleagues re-elected. The prime examples that the article cites are the methods my home senator, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) is using to ensure that Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) does not lose his seat this fall. As chair of the powerful finance committee, Baucus has made it clear that he will consider a vote for Denny Rehburg as a vote against himself—making relations between him and businesses who may desire to give money to Rehburg challenging. A Baucus aide states clearly that “Max has made it no secret that getting Sen. Tester reelected is a top priority. To that end, he’s raised half a million for the Tester effort and continues to do all he can in Montana, in D.C. and nationally.”
This phenomenon is not isolated to Montana. The article cites many examples of Congressional members giving money to the campaigns of their state counterparts. It makes sense that members would want to maintain the strength of their party, but should there be any limits to their support? Is leveraging one’s position on a powerful Congressional committee an abuse of power? And lastly, what kind of effects do these practices have on Gridlock?