Congressional Oversight Initiative

Congressional Oversight Fellowships: Policies

The Project On Government Oversight’s Congressional Oversight Fellowships provide extraordinary opportunities to learn about and contribute to the Congressional oversight process. The program is primarily for the educational benefit of the fellow, rather than being primarily in the interest of the Committee or POGO. The fellow must comply with all laws, rules, and standards of conduct applicable to the Senate or House and conduct themselves in a manner that reflects creditably on the Chamber. The committee will monitor the fellow’s assigned duties to ensure there is not any direct or indirect benefit to POGO.

This program will comply with all Senate and House Rules and disclosure requirements, and POGO will be completely transparent in its sponsorship. Fellows will avoid conflicts of interest and the appearance of conflicts between the participant’s duties to the Senate or House and any responsibilities the fellow has to their sponsor, including not giving an undue advantage to them.

Accordingly, we have put in place best practices to prevent the possibility of actual or perceived conflicts.

These policies are subject to change as required by Senate, House, or host committee rules, policies, or guidances.

Social Media Policy

Whether or not a fellow decides to create and use social media is that fellow’s own choice. Social media includes things such as a personal blog, wiki, online social media network(s), or any other form of online publishing or discussion. Fellows will be restricted by the Committee’s social media policies as well as those implemented by POGO.

Work Product

All documents and work product generated or obtained during the tenure of the fellowship is the sole property of the host committee. None of that work product, or information derived from work product, may be used in any capacity outside of official committee business, including providing it to POGO at any time during or after the fellowship.

Conflict of Interest Policy

Fellows will be made aware of the implications their activities have for the committee in which they work. Although not technically Senate or House employees, fellows will conduct themselves in a manner which reflects creditably on the Senate and House. Fellows should avoid situations where their official duties conflict with, or appear to conflict with, their personal and financial interests, the interests of the fellow’s family, friends, former employers, or former clients, the interests of the fellow’s affiliated organizations, or the interests of POGO. Under no circumstances will the fellow provide benefit or special consideration to POGO.

In addition to this policy, fellows are required to adhere to relevant laws, Congressional rules, and guidelines governing House or Senate employees. To prevent a conflict of interest, or the appearance of a conflict, fellows may be required to take specific action such as divestiture or recusal.

Affiliated Organizations

Affiliated organizations include but are not limited to entities for which a fellow or family member serves as an employee, committee member, or board member; in which a fellow or family member holds a financial stake; or to which the fellow or a family member contributes substantial time, money, or advice regarding a political, issue, or advocacy campaign.

Disclosure

For fellows placed in the Senate, the fellowship will comply with all Senate Rules and Rule XLI disclosure requirements, and POGO will publicly post those records. In the case of a placement in the House, which doesn’t require Representatives or fellows to file public reports, POGO will make disclosures that are consistent with the Senate’s disclosure requirements. Fellows may be required to file a financial disclosure report pursuant to the Ethics in Government Act of 1978.

Finalists. POGO requires applicants chosen as finalists to disclose their affiliated organizations for review prior to placement. Such affiliations generally do not disqualify a candidate, and are used to help fellows, their host committees, and POGO prevent actual or apparent conflicts of interest during the course of the program. As a result of the reviews, fellows may be required to take specific action such as divestiture or recusal.

Fellows. Per Senate Rule XLI(6) and POGO-identified best practices, fellows serving in either chamber will be required to complete reports when their fellowships begin, at the end of each quarter during the fellowship, and when the fellowship ends. Senate reports will be filed with the Senate Select Committee on Ethics and POGO, while reports by House fellows will be filed with POGO only. All will be publicly posted on POGO’s Fellowship website.

Contact with POGO

After placement with a Congressional office, fellows and POGO may only discuss employment-related issues including compensation, human resources concerns, and administrative details related to their fellowship.

Contact with Outside Entities

Fellows may not share information related to their official committee work with outside entities, both during and after their fellowship, if the information in question has not been made public through an official committee act.

Outside Work

Fellows are generally prohibited from outside work and compensation for the duration of their fellowship without prior written approval from their host office, the relevant Ethics Committee, and POGO. Such outside work includes speaking engagements and publishing. If approved to perform outside work, the fellow would still need to comply with the conflicts of interest policies governing the fellowship, and all outside work activities must be performed on the fellow’s own time and cannot involve the use of Committee or POGO resources.

Workplace Policies (Leave, Work Hours, Evaluations, Work Product, Conduct)

Fellows must adhere to all relevant Congressional rules, practices, and statutes regarding employee conduct throughout the period of their fellowships. Leave will be established by the committee and POGO pursuant to applicable Senate and House rules and guidelines. Additionally, fellows may not discuss non-public information regarding ongoing work projects with anyone.

Equal Employment Opportunities

POGO provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, or genetics. We welcome all interested and qualified individuals to apply.