This week. The House and Senate are in recess for two weeks and not a moment too soon, with many Members of Congress reporting they’ve tested positive for COVID-19 and, we suspect, many others failing to make a public announcement. Mandatory mask wearing should return to the halls of Congress, positive tests should be recorded and published, and maximum telework should continue, but we expect symbolism will remain elevated over safety. Please be safe (and smart) out there.
Last week was so busy and we expect it will be even worse before the start of the next recess. When Congress returns in two weeks, approps season will be at full blast; we’ve compiled upcoming deadlines for approps testimony here.
Three congressional workforce issues are worth your continued attention.
⟶ Where’s the pay increase for House Committee staff? Thursday was a bitter disappointment for House Committee staff, to whom House leadership promised a 21% pay adjustment but delivered only the capability for 10%. Personal, leadership, and appropriations offices will still receive up to a 21% increase, however. We caught the pay switch as it was happening and wrote up the gory details. The committee funding resolution, reported by the House Admin Committee (watch the proceedings here), obscures that the missing $15 million was used to fund the Jan 6th and Economic Disparity Select Committees, which neither received separate allocation nor a plus up to the Committees appropriations account. (We disagree with any effort to say that the Jan 6th Committee has wasted the funds, as its top line spending — to the extent they’ve properly submitted their paperwork — is in line with that of other committees, although we really wonder what they are waiting for to report out.) The Congressional Workers Union called the short funding “shameful” and not in line with the intent of the Omnibus. Ranking Member Davis, who voted for the resolution, said it was “unfortunate” that committees won’t receive the same level of increases as member offices and indicated he would have supported the higher number. We wonder whether leadership will use the supplementals or other mechanisms to make things right for committee staff.
⟶ No news on House staff unions. Aída Chávez writes that Congress Is Dragging Its Feet on Recognizing a Staffers’ Union in the Nation; and More Perfect Union has a powerful video featuring Congressional staffers describing untenable working conditions on Capitol Hill. All we are hearing from congressional officials responsible for making this happen is radio silence.
⟶ Committee interns can now be paid from a newly established allowance, as the House Admin committee has adopted by poll this resolution that permits payment and directs that interns do not count against the staff number caps. This is good news. We are hearing concerns that interns who work more than 30 hours/week cannot be paid at the local minimum wage in DC from intern-designated appropriations, however, which is something that should be addressed.
The fourth Congressional hackathon took place in the CVC on Wednesday, a rare bipartisan event co-hosted by Majority Leader Hoyer and Minority Leader McCarthy. The event consisted of a few speeches, a bunch of lightning talks, and a collaborative effort to recommend ways to improve constituent communications, legislative data, constituent services and casework, cybersecurity, and modernizing congressional hearings. We’ve published the video of the proceedings as well as our draft notes, which you can find here. The event, like all its predecessors, was a roaring success and we hope it will return. We’d like to specifically note Steve Dwyer and Matt Lira as longtime guiding forces to modernizing congressional tech.
We warned you last week was going to be busy. The rest of this newsletter consists of round-ups of the hearings and mark-ups that interested us; we’ve flagged the big stuff. It includes: four House Leg branch approps hearings; a hearing before ModCom on Continuity of Congress; the House Admin hearing on the STOCK Act; the House Judiciary hearing on FARA; and the House Judiciary favorably reporting a press protection bill. After all that, it’s all the other stuff that happened during the week. Please extend us a little grace: everyone who works on these issues at the Forecast pitched in, but this is way too much for us to cover.
APPROPS: Government Accountability Office
At GAO’s budget request hearing (video), we learned from Comptroller General Gene Dodaro (written testimony) that the agency projects an impressive $158 return on every $1 of taxpayer money invested over the past five years. The agency increased its topline request for FY 2023 to $810.3 million, 12.7% over last year’s enacted level (a greater increase than the 9% increase included in President Biden’s budget). IMO, this increase is surely warranted. Dodaro discussed recent modernization efforts within the agency, including its Science, Technology Assessment, and Analytics team, which he hopes to have staffed up to 149 people by the end of the year. Some organizations have suggested the STAA receive a separate line item, so that Congress can ensure the science and technology team have dedicated funds and a direct line to Congress, much as the former OTA did, although Comptroller Dodaro is not a fan of the idea.
More GAO: GAO is expected to have 3,500 FTEs total, is doing an excellent job of retaining its staff, and has created a strong pipeline for interns to get full time jobs at the agency. Rep. Tim Ryan noted that a key GAO recommendation for restoring the congressional power of the purse was included in the FY 2022 approps omnibus: OMB will now be required to publicly post all apportionments of executive branch appropriations, allowing Congress time to conduct oversight and GAO time to advise Congress.
Doing the numbers, GAO issued 578 reports, 500 legal opinions, 1,602 recommendations, and its work resulted in $66.2 billion in financial benefits. GAO funding and staff are below its historical norms, and we wonder whether a further increase in its funding beyond the agency’s request could help it build on its $1.26 trillion in cumulative financial benefits since 2002. With the Capitol Police making significant efforts to eat the entirety of the Leg Branch’s budget, maybe it’s time to consider a new funding model for GAO so that it can grow at a rate proportional to the growth of government.
GAO bill recently dropped. Speaking of maximizing returns on investment in GAO, the recently-introduced Improving Government for America’s Taxpayers Act, led by Reps. Kilmer and Timmons, would create a consolidated, public list of GAO recommendations to agencies, a cost estimate for their enactment, and track the lag time between the issuance of GAO recommendations and agency action. Dan Lips of the Lincoln Network wrote about the bill in the Hill.
ICYMI, Demand Progress’s approps recommendations re: GAO included a study on further increasing GAO’s funding; directing the agency to compile an annual report on all its unimplemented recommendations; and buttressing the agency’s ability to oversee elements of the Intelligence Community, which often resist its oversight activities even when directed by a committee of jurisdiction.
GAO’s Congressional Budget Justification was published on April 5th, the day of the hearing, so there was no opportunity to review it prior to the proceedings.
APPROPS: Congressional Budget Office
Highlights of Tuesday’s hearing on CBO’s budget request (video here), at which CBO Director Phillip Swagel testified, included conversation about the agency’s ability to be responsive to congressional requests and, speaking of, congressional requests about when it will release its budgetary and economic analysis for the fiscal year. CBO requested $64.6 million, a 6% increase, or $3.7 million, from FY 2022, which would increase the FTEs to 279. The agency would provide a 4.6% across the board pay increase for employees earning less than $100k. Despite this employee friendly approach, the agency will also require the vast majority of employees to return on average 2.5 days per week, which seems out-of-step with the practices of other Legislative branch agencies.
Conflicts of interest for the agency’s outside expert panels was the focus of a line of questioning by RM Herrera Beutler. She rightly noted that CBO had made efforts to make the conflict of interest disclosure forms available to those who inquired, including electronically, but disclosures are not published online and they are not provided in a way that can be downloaded. We’ve written before about the conflicts of financial interest and our views that the information should be published online. Director Swagel answered that the disclosures were modeled off of the (opaque) public-but-not-online disclosures of the House Legislative Resource Center — ugh — although we note that member financial disclosure forms are online, just hard to find. Swagel said they are reassessing how they publish this information as the pandemic winds down, so perhaps they will now default to online publication.
CBO access to Executive branch data was also raised, just as it had been at a recent ModCom hearing. Dir. Swagel was more circumspect this time around, merely saying that it could be a challenge getting information from agencies with respect to fast moving legislation and noting the existence of 3 dozen agreements with agencies to obtain non-public data. A June 2021 CBO report explained that each agreement can take 5 to 60 hours of staff time to develop and the time it takes to finalize an agreement can range from one month to five years (in extenuating circumstances). This means that the agreements are most often used for long-term and recurring projects. At the ModCom hearing, it was made apparent by CBO, GAO, and CRS that they all had issues getting information from the Executive branch that they needed for their work, with some even resorting to filing FOIA requests. The 2021 CBO report noted that OMB is planning to standardize the application process for access to restricted data, as well as putting forward guidance on privacy protection, although we wonder if Congressional access to agency information should be set by OMB alone and not as a result of an Legislative-Executive negotiation.
ICYMI, Demand Progress’s approps recommendations re: CBO include strengthening CBO’s ability to get information from Executive branch agencies. We would be supportive of the agency publishing its outside advisory conflict-of-interest forms online.
CBO’s Congressional Budget Justification is online here and was published in February, well in advance of the hearing and as an illustration of the agency’s efforts to increase its transparency.
APPROPS: Office of Congressional Workplace Rights
At Tuesday’s hearing on OCWR (video, written testimony), we learned from Rep. Espaillat’s questioning of OCWR Acting Exec. Director Teresa James that the agency estimates an additional $500,000 and two FTEs would be necessary to support unionization in the House of Representatives should such a resolution pass the people’s chamber, to support the conduction of elections. Oddly, OCWR had not provided for this eventuality in its budget request of $7.5 million, which is flat funding over FY 2022 and FY 2021. The agency has 31 FTE and a gigantic mission of “enforcing 14 federal workplace and accessibility laws that cover more than 30,000 employees” and inspecting 18 million square feet of facilities and grounds for compliance with OSHA, the ADA, and Unfair Labor Practices. Read the OCWR’s written testimony here.
The OCWR’s Congressional Budget Justification is not online and that fact was the subject of a line of questioning from Rep. Newhouse, who asked about the non-publication. Dir. James said the agency would be opening to its online publication.
The Second Congressional Climate Survey, a biannual survey of congressional staff about their attitudes towards the workplace, is apparently underway and will be sent to staff soon. The questions may not be finalized, however. According to Dir. James, most employees per the 2021 survey feel comfortable in their environment. (We are unsure whether this report has been made publicly available.)
James’ written testimony mentioned that OCWR issued a citation against the US Capitol Policein July 2021 for OSHA violations during the Jan. 6th riot. That was news to us. OCWR’s citation declared the Capitol Police department violated OSHA on five counts by failing to provide officers with protective equipment despite knowing of many of the threats well in advance. Most striking to us is item #5, which declared “The USCP did not take sufficient steps to protect its officers against the recognized hazards associated with large demonstrations with the possibility of violence in its planning for the January 6, 2021 demonstration.” The citation requires the USCP, by July 1, 2022, to fully implement four corrective actions.
ICYMI, Demand Progress’s approps recommendations related to the OCWR include providing for the unionization of shared employees and we would endorse publication of the CBJ’s online and providing sufficient funds to the OCWR to support unionization in the House. We also would suggest that the Congress take on and enact the long list of OCWR requests to either apply or incorporate federal employment protection laws to congressional employees, as detailed in its biannual 102(b) report. Highlights of the recommendations include: protecting employees who serve on jury duty, provide whistleblower protections to the legislative branch, and approve the ADA public access regulations.
APPROPS: HOUSE OFFICERS
Three House officers testified at Wednesday’s hearing: CAO Catherine Szpindor; House SAA William J. Walker; and Clerk of the House Cheryl L. Johnson. The remaining five officers submitted written testimony. All the written statements are here.
In brief: House officers requested $1.8 billion for FY 2023, representing a $114 million (or 7%) increase compared to last year’s enacted level. The Clerk has requested a 10% increase to $40 million; the CAO requested a 9% increase to $211 million; and the SAA requested a 40% increase to $38 million. (Yes, a forty percent increase!)
The hearing Q&A revolved around member security and cybersecurity, including questions around SAA funding for replacing escape hoods and victim rescue units. CAO Szpindor discussed internship data, including use of funds and number of interns. Szpindor mentioned a report that was sent to CHA a few months ago (which we have yet to see) that stated roughly 69% of intern funding had been authorized: in total, 74% for DC interns, 23% percent district interns, and 3% for leadership interns. 302 interns were appointed each month on average, with an average annual salary of $14,108. Szpindor mentioned that the CAO has been calling each office individually to gather this information, rather than offices reporting it directly. The Leg Branch appropriations bill report required a CAO/ODI on the feasibility of creating an internship and fellowship office in Congress, but that report — which doesn’t have a due date — was not discussed during the hearing. Per ODI’s report, it doesn’t seem to have been started.
Demand Progress has a number of appropriations recommendations for each entity, from which we’ve selected highlights below:
⟶ For the Clerk, Demand Progress recommended updating the list of all mandated reports due to Congress to include reports due to committees and subcommittees; publishing ethics documents available at the Legislative Resource Center online; improving the publication of data about lobbyists; creating a legislative branch data coordination office; providing sufficient support for building a committee document online management system; and participating in a congressional digital services task force. The Clerk does a ton of work, including with its comparative print project, and needs both better funding and the ability to pay staff at higher levels.
⟶ For the CAO, Demand Progress recommended publication of the data identifiers in the statements of disbursements so it is easier to follow the data; the creation of a congressional fellowship database; participation in a working group to create a congress-wide address book; and a plan to increase staff pay frequency to twice a month.
⟶ For the Sergeant at Arms, Demand Progress recommended updating its manual to allow each Member of Congress to have one staffer who is eligible to apply for a TS/SCI clearance. We also have many recommendations to modernize the Capitol Police; the SAA serves on the USCP Board.
⟶ The House of Representatives itself does not have a representative who can testify on behalf of that body — maybe it should? — but Demand Progress has a number of appropriations recommendations. They include: increasing personal and committee staff pay levels by the amount recommended by the House IG to create parity with the Executive branch; creating a House Intern Resource Office; closing gaps in IG coverage inside the Legislative branch; publishing Leg branch Congressional Budget Justifications online in one location and House agency annual and semi-annual reports online in a central location; and allowing Members to choose to have Dear Colleagues automatically published online.
We read the written testimony submitted by: Enumale Agada of Office of Diversity and Inclusion; Wade Ballou Jr. of the Office of the Legislative Counsel; Douglas Letter, the House General Counsel; Joseph Picolla, the acting House IG; and Ralph Seep, the House Law Revision Counsel. It is too voluminous to discuss here. But a few highlights.
⟶ The Office of Diversity and Inclusion has suffered from high turnover at the top, including the loss of its founding director. Three major reports have yet to be undertaken: the Intern Office Feasibility Study, the Talent Pipeline Study, and Intern pay and demographic study. The ODI is collaborating with the House Task Force on a Diverse and Talented Workforce to determine how to regularly collect House workforce demographic and pay data. Fortunately, the testimony notes that the ODI is in the final stages of selecting a replacement director.
⟶ The House Office of Legislative Counsel has had an explosion in the number of requests to draft legislation. From the 113th to the 116th Congress, the number of bills introduced increased from 5,893 to 9,067; and the number of bill drafts prepared increased from 18k to 29k; amendments from 12k to 16k. At the same time, the office has suffered from high turnover caused by a wave of retirements in 2015 that was not anticipated. As it takes years to apprentice a new attorney, this resulted in a significant drop of aggregate attorney expertise, from 739 years in 2012 to 651 years in 2020 to 676 years in 2022. The Office is digging itself out of that hole. The HOLC requested $13.5 million and has 76 permanent staff. It is hiring attorneys at triple the rate of previous decades. Improving staff pay and providing for remote work are the keys to improving staff retention, and thus staff expertise, and combining that with the office’s efforts to modernize how it drafts legislation through new drafting tools, the comparative print project, and updated legislative data models should help the office meet the needs of the House and avoid staff burnout.
⟶ The House General Counsel requested $1.9 million for FY 2023, a flat request over FY 2022. The written testimony contained very summary information about the office, which is one reason why Demand Progress requested improved transparency around when the GC intervenes in court. Attorney Michael Stern, who worked in the office, submitted testimony last year in support of improving transparency for the office, and we commend it to your attention.
⟶ The House Inspector General requested $5.1 million, a 2.3% increase to support 25 FTEs. The office appears to serve an audit and management consultancy function. The House IG was established after the House Bank Scandal, which was quite a thing in 1992. For many years House IG reports were made publicly available — as they should be — but in 2007 the House IG stopped publishing reports online and in September 2009 all reports were pulled off its website. We found all the old reports and wrote about it here. IG reports should be proactively disclosed online, except in rare circumstances. Demand Progress has encouraged appropriators to direct the publication of the reports online except when it cannot, and then to list the reports it cannot publish. The Project on Government Oversight submitted testimony on this point in 2019.
⟶ The House Office of Law Revision Counsel, which is responsible for publishing the US Code, requested $3.7 million, a 4% increase. The OLRC is one of the least known offices in Congress and one of my favorites. They have taken transparency and modern technology to heart. They publish the U.S. code online, and push new data online rapidly and in a high quality fashion. They also are key players in the comparative print project, which will show how an amendment amends a bill in real time. (Some offices already have access to this.) They also play the key role in codifying the law — turning individual bills into positive law — which I explain here.
CONTINUITY OF CONGRESS
Congressional continuity was the topic of a hearing before the House ModCom last week (video, witness testimony). Several members of the AEI’s Continuity of Government Commission testified, including former Reps. Brian Baird, Mike Bishop, and Donna Shalala. Members of the bipartisan commission called for a constitutional amendment that would require all House members to confidentially designate successors if they are killed or incapacitated. The hearing was extremely insightful, but unfortunately, no real conclusions were reached other than how difficult it would be for Congress to pass a constitutional amendment. Roll Call’s Chris Cioffi has a rundown of the hearing. As you know, we’ve written on this topic extensively in previous newsletters; my colleague Taylor J. Swift’s testimony before the Select Committee in March 2021 remains relevant, as does our website dealing with continuity of Congress. We think that smaller steps, like remote deliberations, access to SCIFs in the district, and the like should be implemented immediately.
I’ll be honest, I watched only half of House Admin’s STOCK Act hearing (video, repository) and skimmed the witness statements. Several things became clear to me from what I saw. Many members do not acknowledge that conflicts of interest can arise not just from individual malice (i.e. conscious intent) but from implicit bias. For example, if you own $10 million of funds in company X’s stock, you will implicitly favor company X even if you do not consciously realize that you are doing so because it is in your personal interest to do so. We are not a good judge of our own motives, which is why it’s so important to remove the temptation. Also, transparency alone is not a cure, and what we have now is far from real-time, online transparency.
What this means, in part, is that half-measures won’t do. Besides all the logistical and cost problems about blind trusts, they don’t solve the problem. Divestiture does: for you, your spouse (or longtime partner), and your minor children. Congress writes the tax code so it can make sure that members are kept whole if they must divest. And allowing investments in non-sectoral index funds will eliminate the conflicts of interest that arise from trading and, more likely than not, would result in a good return on investment.
Addressing the holding of stock is not enough to address conflicts of interest for members, which is why we laid out these reform proposals. Ending conflicts of interest around stock ownership is one of those issues that is good politics and good policy. We know it will make it harder for the party leadership to induce the super-wealthy to run for Congress — recruited because they can self-finance — but the super-wealthy are already over-represented, so we consider that a good kind of result.
FARA hearing. Several good ideas for improving the Foreign Agents Registration Act were raised during Tuesday’s House Judiciary Cmte hearing, particularly by Dylan Hedtler-Gaudette of POGO. Hedtler-Gaudette recommended closing loopholes that allow certain foreign agents to bypass FARA reporting requirements, empowering enforcers, and improving the DOJ’s online public disclosures of FARA documents; Demand Progress recently made similar recommendations (and we’ve submitted testimony on this previously with our POGO friends.) Politico has a full summary of the proceedings — yes, I realize “full summary” is an oxymoron — including allegations of partisan interpretation of FARA and calls, under the auspices of First Amendment protections, for loosening the (already loose) restrictions on foreign money.
35% of federal lobbyists failed to disclose prior employment in disclosure forms last year, according to a recent GAO report. 7% failed to disclose campaign contributions. It’s worth noting that the rate of scrutiny (let alone repercussions) for noncompliance is extremely low: 72% of the cases referred to the DC US attorney over the past decade remain pending “because USAO could not locate the lobbyists.” FWIW, the DC US Attorney historically has not been known for caring about these referrals. We’ve written about the GAO’s recurring report previously. Former staffers continue to improperly fill out sections of the report in large part because of the way the form is constructed. If the form’s design is corrected, we think many (but not all) of the errors will dissipate.
Corruption. In the US, ‘registered agents’ do the bidding of the undisclosed owners of corporations with little scrutiny, the Washington Post reports. Under current weak anti-corruption laws, companies are only required to disclose their true owners to law enforcement, not to the public, as in the EU and UK; Demand Progress has recommended the US create a public registry for the disclosure of the true owners of public corporations to deliver on President Biden’s anti-corruption goals. Other anti-corruption proposals include the ‘Enablers Act,’ (H.R.5525) legislation introduced in fall 2021 that would require registered agents themselves to assume an oversight role over the companies that employ them.
Important press freedom legislation reported out of House Judiciary. We were thrilled to see that the House Judiciary Committee favorably reported the PRESS Act (H.R.4330), legislation protecting journalists from being forced to disclose confidential sources and preventing federal law enforcement from abusing subpoena power. As we noted in a statement, the PRESS Act would provide a shield against governmental efforts to undermine journalists’ acts of truth-telling. By the way, former Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte penned this op-ed in support of the PRESS Act back in 2021; we rounded up good press freedom ideas back in 2018.
“House Ethics Committee struggles to crack down on bad behavior” is the title of a recent Washington Post story on the House’s ethics enforcer. The committee can only act when it has bipartisan agreement, so all sorts of misbehavior goes unpunished. This illustrates the value of the non-partisan Office of Congressional Ethics, which has expert (former) prosecutors that don’t have to play team sports with ethics. We think OCE should be strengthened and the Ethics Committee redesigned.
MRA fraud. A former staffer for Rep. Brad Schneider pleaded guilty Thursday to using his position as Director of Operations to inflate his salary and bonuses — for a total of nearly $80k in unauthorized payments. (I wonder if anyone is monitoring the MRA reports for fraudulent filing patterns.)
Members’ mishandled budget reports. Some Members of Congress appear to be using reimbursements to conceal where they’re actually directing funds, new LegiStorm data suggests. Reps. John Carter and Troy Nehls, both Texas Republicans, paid their chiefs of staff ½ and ⅓ of all payroll dollars, respectively. These sums were far greater than the official salaries; reimbursements made up the difference. In June 2020, LegiStorm was the first to notice a similar irregularity in the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn’s office’s budget reporting, leading to a House Ethics investigation into whether Hagedorn “used official funds to contract for services with companies owned or controlled by his staff members.” This is also an issue when members/staff pay for items with credit cards, which can conceal which items exactly were paid for on the credit card.
The House Ethics committee’s ongoing investigations of Rep. Mooney seems to relate to potential misuse of congressional campaign funds and potential efforts to cover up past unethical behavior, Roll Call reports.
Transparency in the federal judiciary. The 21st Century Courts Act, introduced in the House last week, seeks to address conflicts of interest and secrecy in the federal judiciary by strengthening financial disclosure requirements, directing the Supreme Court to establish a code of conduct for itself, and codifying live-streaming of all federal appellate and SCOTUS arguments. Reuters has more. BGov has more on conflicts of interest, Ginni Thomas, and the “long, slow journey toward more judicial transparency.”
ODDS AND ENDS
Senate dining workers averted layoffs last week when appropriators redirected $3.75 million of the COVID-19 supplemental towards keeping dining workers on payroll. The news broke at Wednesday’s rally in support of the workers; several of the 18 senators who organized a letter calling for temporary aid, better benefits, and higher pay for Senate cafeteria workers were in attendance.
Appropriators don’t publish earmarks as data; fortunately BGov and the Bipartisan Policy Center both published datasets of granted earmarks online. Since our last writing, BPC has updated its dataset (code here, data here) to include Members’ unique identifiers, or bioguide IDs — which is great to see, because that’s what’s necessary for this data to be compatible with other datasets. Overall, it’s absurd that the press and civil society have to do the legwork to extract information about granted earmarks from sideways pdfs. Appropriators really should publish this data, including Members’ and agencies’ unique IDs, in the first place. They also should publish earmark requests as data. Another concern, raised by EENews’ recent reporting: does earmarking allow Members to dodge federal regulations and clear otherwise “ineligible” infrastructure projects? See BGov for more on Members’ attitudes towards pork barrel in an election year.
House members are spending more on security post-Jan. 6th, according to a recent LegiStorm analysis. The increase is more pronounced among Democrats than Republicans, and security spending makes up a huge portion of some Members’ overall budgets: 30% of one member’s non-payroll budget went to DHS.
FSGG: last years’ approps. This recent CRS report has a rundown of what made it into the FY 2022 FSGG approps bill.
Public 990s: five years in. The IRS started requiring tax-exempt organizations to make their tax filings (Form 990s) publicly available five years ago. How that data’s been used since then is the subject of a recent report from the Aspen Institute, which had advocated for the change
A starter pack for working with whistleblowers is out now from the House Office of the Whistleblower Ombuds.
Scavino and Navarro held in contempt. The House voted (mostly along party lines) on Wednesday to refer Trump allies Dan Scavino and Peter Navarro to the Justice Department for possible contempt of Congress charges.
Goodbye Thomases. Ginni Thomas’s Jan. 6th ties should disqualify her from sitting on the board managing Library of Congress funds, Adam Rappaport writes for CREW. Thomas was appointed to the board by Trump in May 2020; her “efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election make her unfit for any role in government, let alone one overseeing hundreds of millions of dollars in federal money.”
#HouseOfCode. The Congressional App Challenge will celebrate student winners of its app competition with two public events: the kickoff and keynotes, scheduled for April 20 at 6 PM, and student app demonstrations, scheduled for April 22 from 4:30 – 7 PM. Register here.
Legislative tech throughout the Americas is the subject of an upcoming Bússola Tech conference on May 5 and 6. Stay tuned for registration info.
No, we aren’t going anywhere, but you can see how much work it was to compile this week’s edition. Send us your corrections, comments, and commendations.