Running For Office Is Really Hard If You’re Not A Millionaire
Many of the lawmakers walking the gilded halls of Congress are, financially, far better off than the constituents they represent. Millionaires comprise nearly 40 percent of Congress, compared to being just 4 percent of the U.S. population.
This lopsided representation is not just some coincidence.
Rich people have a significant advantage running for office in a political system that relies on private donations. Rich people have rich friends who can donate to their campaign. They have the resources to make sure everything is taken care of in their personal life so that they can focus all their attention on running for office. And they can fund their own campaign and not worry about spending all their time raising money.
Federal campaign laws allow candidates to give themselves a salary, up to how much they would be paid if they were elected or what they made in the previous year ― whichever amount is lower. Brendan Fischer, director of federal reform for the Campaign Legal Center, said that most candidates don’t take the salary ― even though some of them probably should. Many candidates are wealthy and don’t need the money, and the ones who aren’t are often reluctant to take a salary because it might not look good politically.
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