Congressional Oversight Fellowships: FAQ
What do fellows do?
Their duties, like most Hill staff, are varied, but can include:
Researching and investigating areas of interest to the committee
Briefing committee leadership, members, and staff
Preparing memos on oversight projects
Participating in preparation and execution of:
Preparing for oversight hearings
Assisting in drafting reports or other committee materials
What is the conflict of interest vetting process?
POGO requires finalists to report entities in which they or close family members have financial or personal involvement, from investment holdings to boards on which they serve, to political, advocacy, or issue campaigns they advise or direct. Such affiliations generally do not disqualify any candidate from serving, but allow us to adequately report potential conflicts and help the fellow, his or her host committee, and POGO to prevent potential conflicts from arising. See the Policies page for more information.
Although not technically Senate or House employees, the fellows will conduct themselves in a manner which reflects creditably on the Senate or House. Hosting offices may obtain an agreement from fellows stating such.
During their term of service, to whom do fellows report?
For the duration of the fellowship, fellows report to the staff director or chief of staff of their host office.
Are these fellowships paid?
Yes. Fellows will receive an annual stipend of between $70,000 and $100,000, based on experience, disbursed in monthly increments. For the duration of their engagement as fellows, they will be classified as independent contractors, and not employees of POGO or the U.S. Congress.
Fellows will be eligible to receive reimbursement for health insurance, and will also be eligible to receive reimbursement for certain relocation expenses, up to $2,500.
I’m a reporter/writer/producer. I know I can’t publish anything about my fellowship while I’m serving. When it’s over, can I publish anything about my experience, or something using information I gathered during the fellowship?
In nearly all cases, the answer is no. Your work product will remain the property of your host committee, and your commitment to Congressional rules remains. In most cases any information gathered in the course of your fellowship cannot be used or shared unless by an official act of that committee. In all cases, you would need to obtain written permission from the committee and from POGO before publishing anything relating to your fellowship.
Why is that?
First and foremost, confidentiality is an essential component to Congressional oversight and investigative work, and this Fellowship is only possible when that is recognized and respected. Further, Congressional rules strictly prohibit sharing information outside of official acts by the committee, such as publishing a report or holding a hearing. Finally, this Fellowship exists to educate the fellows on the workings of Congressional oversight, not to provide content for reportage.
Do fellows get to choose where they work?
No. Fellows are carefully matched to a committee that is currently active in conducting oversight and has expressed a desire to further the fellow’s educational pursuits. Committees have the right to select or approve the fellows who will work in their offices. Fellows have the option to decline the position, but there is no guarantee they will be offered an alternative.
What is the deadline to apply?
Applications are due no later than October 15, 2017. For more information on deadlines and schedule, see the Congressional Oversight Fellowships page.
Is previous experience with government, policy, or oversight necessary?
No. But it is important to want to know more about how Congress and Congressional oversight works.
If I become a fellow, how do I prepare for the job?
At the start of the fellowship, all fellows receive extensive training and orientation on Congress, oversight authorities, practices and processes, and more.
Is it possible to accept a fellowship and work remotely, without relocating to Washington, DC?
No. All fellowship positions are located in Washington, DC, working in Congressional offices.
Do you ever offer fellowships for a shorter period than one year?
No. At this time, fellowships are only for 12-month periods.
Is a security clearance required?