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Group of Bipartisan Experts Reveal Dirty Legislative Secret

U.S. Capitol

A bipartisan group of experts are pointing out a dirty secret of the legislative branch: its penchant for funding new agencies and programs far outpaces its investment in staff to oversee all of it. In a letter to Congressional leadership reported Thursday, the cross-partisan group—representing New America, Campaign Legal Center, the R Street Institute, Brookings Institution, and the American Enterprise Institute—pointed out that salaries for Congressional staff have stagnated over the past decade.

This has resulted in a high rate of staff turnover, reduced institutional knowledge, and declining issue-area expertise, all of which translates into weakened checks and balances over government agencies.

“Congress has been doing government on the cheap for decades. And we get what we pay for,” the groups wrote.

For the past ten years, the Project On Government Oversight has worked to combat that loss of expertise by training Congressional staff on the finer points of oversight. In 2014, we expanded that program by creating the Congressional Oversight Initiative, which now includes intense two-day "boot camps," individual training sessions for committees, and more. To date, over 1,000 Congressional staffers, from legislative directors and senior counsels to legislative aides, have taken our trainings.

Read the full story in Government Executive.

By: Justin Rood
Director of Congressional Oversight Initiative, POGO

Photograph of Justin Rood Mr. Rood's areas of expertise include congressional oversight, homeland security and intelligence.

Topics: Government Accountability

Related Content: Congressional Oversight, Congressional Oversight Initiative

Authors: Justin Rood

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