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This New York Times correction hilariously drives home the money-in-politics problem

Andrew Prokop is a senior politics correspondent at Vox, covering the White House, elections, and political scandals and investigations. He’s worked at Vox since the site’s launch in 2014, and before that, he worked as a research assistant at the New Yorker’s Washington, DC, bureau.

Every so often, we get a revealing glimpse into just how important money is in our political system, and in Congress in particular. And Thursday morning, we got a particularly amusing one, when the New York Times had to run a correction because it vastly understated how much time the speaker of the House has to spend fundraising:

NYT correction

It's amusing to think about a world where the speaker of the House would only have to spend three weekends a year fundraising. The reality, of course, is far different. Hauling in money from wealthy donors is a key part of the job description and a constant, unceasing pressure. For instance, in the first half of this year alone, John Boehner raised a staggering $28 million for Republicans in his chamber.

Indeed, fundraising for colleagues is the quickest and most concrete way an ambitious member of Congress can build a loyal following among his or her colleagues. Current and recent House leaders in both parties — Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, Eric Cantor, Steny Hoyer — all rose above hundreds of other Congressmen with similar views largely due to their prodigious abilities to raise money from rich people. Someone who spent a mere three weekends a year fundraising could never lead a major political party in our system.

(Hat tip: Every Voice's Adam Smith, who runs an excellent email newsletter on money in politics issues.)