Rep. David Jolly condemns Congress' "telemarketing" culture

Many members of Congress say they feel pressured to spend hours every day cold-calling donors for campaign contributions
Many members of Congress say they feel pressu... 06:15

In the "60 Minutes" report on fundraising practices of sitting members of Congress, Rep. David Jolly, R-Fla., revealed some of his colleagues even sacrificed family vacation to dial for campaign dollars.

"You can see them come and go from the call suites at both the Democratic headquarters and the Republican headquarters and you can tell when members of Congress are missing in action, you know, where they're at," Jolly told "CBS This Morning" co-host Norah O'Donnell. "And then I also know personal testimonies from colleagues, right, the colleagues who have told me they had to miss family vacation because there was an end-of-quarter deadline."

Dialing for Dollars 13:28

Comparing Congress to a "telemarketing firm," Jolly described a culture where lawmakers receive special perks by raising money for their party, including committee assignments. According to Jolly, the funding can also directly impact lawmakers who seek reelection.

"It takes a certain amount of time to raise that money," Jolly explained on "CBS This Morning" Monday. "So you do have to raise sufficient money for your own reelection, but then there's also an expectation to raise money for your party and that's on both sides of the aisle - an expectation that you will spend time asking people to support your party and hitting certain targets - a half million dollars, $1 million or so forth."

Jolly wants his colleagues to "put the phone down" and "get back to work" with the "Stop Act," which would ban all federally elected officials from directly soliciting donations.

But some colleagues are pointing fingers at Jolly, like Rep. Todd Wilcox, R-Fla., who said in a statement via email before the series aired that Jolly's "performance is going to be Emmy worthy."

"After actively benefiting from the not-so-secret world of D.C.-dialing for-dollars on the tax payers' dime, Congressman David Jolly isn't fooling anyone..." Wilcox wrote. "Was it a coincidence you pledged not to personally ask for donations only after a Super PAC was created to support you?" Jolly and Wilcox are both running for Marco Rubio's Senate seat.

But Jolly dismissed these allegations and defended his Super Pac, saying it was "less funded" than his opponents' and that it would not decide his election.

So far, Jolly's bill has the support of just six lawmakers in the House. Jolly admitted that there were challenges, and that it would be a "multi-year debate with very complex Constitutional issues."

"How do you protect the constitutional privilege of people that contribute with reasonable regulations on that participation?" Jolly said, but he added that it can get done.

"It can get done, but it's going to take the will of the American people, the anger of the American people when they learn that you have a part-time Congress in a full-time world, spending more time shaking down the American people for money than doing their job," Jolly refuted. "We can get it done as a country."

Jolly's call to action may be a risk as he tries to stand out from the crowd for a Senate election. But he asserted the bill's importance, even suggesting that lawmakers' salaries should be slashed in half since "they're spending half their time raising money," should there be no "comprehensive campaign finance reform."

"You know I said to my wife, the only people who are angry at us are guilty as charged in Washington D.C. The affirmation from people across the state of Florida and across the country is very real. A third grader understands -- do your job... In any other profession, if you spent half your week doing something other than you were hired to do, you'd be fired," Jolly said. "If it means losing my job to bring light to what should be a national scandal, my wife and I are happy to accept that fate."