Upon being asked what he would change about the House as an institution during Thursday’s American Institutions Network Congressional Exit Interview, retiring Congressman John Duncan, Jr. (R-Tenn.) responded:
“I didn’t like and still don’t like the system that Newt Gingrich set up and both parties have followed. I am amazed that the media has not criticized this. They base chairmanships and other things on how much money you raise for the party and you have to give the leadership your voting card, neither of which I have been willing to do. I think that’s really unfortunate that your knowledge of a committee or your hard work on a committee doesn’t mean much at all. What matters most is how much money you raise and if you give up your voting card to the leadership.”
The current closed-door process by which chairmen are selected is a threat to the norms of the House of Representatives as a democratic body. This system based on strict party loyalty and fundraising capabilities should not be accepted as a normal, acceptable practice.