In an article titled "Call Time For Congress Shows How Fundraising Dominates Bleak Work Life" the huffingtonpost writes:

The daily schedule prescribed by the Democratic leadership contemplates a nine or 10-hour day while in Washington. Of that, four hours are to be spent in "call time" and another hour is blocked off for "strategic outreach," which includes fundraisers and press work. An hour is walled off to "recharge," and three to four hours are designated for the actual work of being a member of Congress -- hearings, votes, and meetings with constituents.

"Call time" is explained as being fundraising-related as well:

...whether it's "call time" spent on the phone with potential donors, or in person at fundraisers in Washington or back home.

Does that give an accurate impression of how much time US congressman spend fundraising?

  • @Articuno : I don't think it's off topic. I think that people out there who read the article actually think that "US congressman spend most of their time fundraising". Stackexchange question are supposed to be written on general level. If one source says that they spend 180 minute per day, one source says that they spend 210 minutes per day and another says that they spend 240 minutes per day those questions are seen as doublicates. My question is therefore written to address the cluster of claims that are doublicates and gives an example.
    – Christian
    Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 15:42
  • 3
    @Articuno I think you are guilty of being over literal in how you interpret the rules. I think the intent of the question is clear: it is about how congress members spend their time. I think the underlying issue would be the same if we used your more precise wording, but it might not read as well.
    – matt_black
    Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 16:33
  • @matt_black Christian reverted my wording, so it is now clear that he is asking about impression rather than about the claims.
    – user5582
    Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 17:47
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    @Articuno: It not forbidden to address the implication that a claim makes. If you take an article like Why are there so few male programmers? Evolution. A brief history of women’s work in the field of computing you find that the facts that he cites are all right. The implications that the article make are not. If you limit questions to the very specific you allow people to create false models of how the world works by making arguments that are made up of individual facts that check out.
    – Christian
    Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 17:55
  • 2
    @Articuno: The scope of this site is to examine claims. Regardless of the wording of his summary question, the claim is unaltered. I have no problem with your edits; if the OP does, I suggest focusing on the claim itself.
    – Flimzy
    Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 18:19

1 Answer 1


I'll only address the quoted claim: that a 9-10 hour work day generally includes 4-5 hours of fundraising time.


I'm putting these first because they're an interesting series of interviews and stories by NPR and WBEZ on the topic of political fundraising, and I'll be drawing from them for my answer.


  • Walt Minnick (former US Representative from Idaho): "I would spend two or three hours a day as a congressman trying to raise money".

    most of those hours are spent across the street from the Capitol, in special offices set up by the parties specifically for this purpose.

  • Alex Bloomberg (quoting Dick Durbin, senior US Senator from Illinois) says that "on the Senate side, they'll have these things called "power hours" several times a week, where a bunch of senators will go into the call center"

  • There are also in-person fundraising events. Minnick says,

    And I get lots of those kinds of events, too. I was on the egg committee, and every egg group in Washington that wanted to host one of those kinds of events, I would be pleased to go to. And if you walked away with $4,000 or $5,000 from that, that was, a half or a third of what you were supposed to raise that day. And that was easy money. That was a lot fewer phone calls you had to make that afternoon, so.

  • Alex Bloomberg reports:

    But it's not uncommon for congressman to average two, three, four hours a day doing the other job, the one in the call center.

    One member told me, if it was the end of the quarter and he really needed to make his numbers, he'd be there all day long. The fact is, you don't have time to do both jobs. And often, the fundraising wins out over the lawmaking.

  • Nancy Pelosi (US Representative from California, Minority Leader):

    But I think they've said this year I've attended almost 400 fundraisers in nearly 40 cities.

  • This graphic breaks down fundraising events (not just Nancy Pelosi's) by type:

    enter image description here

  • This graphic breaks down fundraising events by time of year:

    enter image description here


Based on these reports, I find that sometimes the majority of a senator's or representative's working day is spent fundraising, and that on many days, several hours per day are spent fundraising.


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