The U.S. Capitol Police is notoriously opaque; among the limited information they will provide to the public are summary statistics on employee misconduct, published in their Annual Statistical Summary Report. This report provides a high level summary of the number of complaints made against USCP employees.
We requested a copy of the 2019 data in June, and it arrived in August, which is par for the course with USCP. Here is what the statistics show:
- There were 228 complaints filed against USCP employees in 2019, of which nearly 140 charges were sustained.
- More than 80% of complaints were filed by department employees; by comparison 14% were citizen submissions, and 3% were filed by outside law enforcement.
Continue reading “Capitol Police Release 2019 Complaints Data With Significant Omissions That Reduce Clarity”
- There have been zero anonymous complaints filed in 2019, and the same was true in 2018. This suggests a problem with the way the anonymous complaints process works.
Not all twitter bots are bad.
We consolidated nearly 20 sources that announce Capitol Hill jobs into one twitter feed – https://twitter.com/opengovjobs. Here’s a list of what it covers:
Continue reading “New Tool: Capitol Hill Twitter Jobs Bot”
Congress is working on the federal government’s spending plan for Fiscal Year 2021. How will spending levels compare to the past? Here are the top line numbers for the last fifteen years. Here’s the upshot:
Continue reading “Changes In Discretionary Spending: 20+ Years of Data”
It can be hard to ascertain the specifics of U.S. Capitol Police activity; to make it easier we created a map reflecting almost a year and a half of arrest incidents reported by the department.
Check out the map embedded below (or online here) to see where Capitol Police officers were most active between January 1, 2019 and June 1, 2020.
by Jason Briefel and Maggi Molina
A president will appoint more than 4,000 individuals to serve in an administration, yet “there is no single source of data on political appointees serving in the executive branch that is publicly available, comprehensive, and timely,” according to the Government Accountability Office in a March 2019 report.
Instead, these positions are compiled and published exactly once every four years in a congressional document known as the Plum Book (officially the United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions). This book is published only in December after a presidential election (before the president even gets sworn in) and includes important data for each position, including title, salary and location.
Continue reading “The PLUM Act: Transparency for Political Appointees”
Last year the House released a valuable report on staff pay, benefits, and diversity. We took a look at the data to answer the question, are better pay and benefits really correlated with staff staying on board? The short answer is yes.
We’ll be releasing a series of short articles focusing on different variables and their impact on staff longevity. This article, the first in that series, focuses on the impact of cost of living adjustments (COLAs) on staff retention.
Continue reading “Pay Study Data: Relationship of Cost of Living Adjustments & Staff Longevity”
Following up on our extensive review of US Capitol Police, we compiled the USCP’s Statement of Disbursements (the ones we could find). USCP is legally required to submit these statements to Congress, but they are not available online. Here’s our letter to USCP asking for the last five years of statements:
Continue reading “Capitol Police: Statement of Disbursements”
(Update, 04/24/20): On April 3, we provided a summary of all the congressional actions related to signing statements. Here is an analysis of the common themes in the legislation:
- Requires the Executive to give Congress notice and reasoning for all statements.
- Bars government entities (including state and federal courts) from using signing statements in interpreting the law.
- Gives Congress standing to seek declaratory relief, allows Congress to intervene in cases or allows Congress to issue “clarifying” statement.
- Requires AG, Deputy AG, White House Counsel to testify before Judiciary at the behest of any single member to explain; can’t invoke executive privilege.
- Limits funds made available to the Executive to produce, publish, or disseminate any signing statement.
- Cuts off funding authorized or expended to implement any law accompanied by a signing statement if Executive doesn’t comply with congressional restrictions on signing statements.
(Original Article) Following up on our discussion of Signing Statements (triggered by the President’s signing statement on the coronavirus relief legislation), here are the hearings and legislation we found on the subject. If we missed something, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Continue reading “Presidential Signing Statements: Congressional Actions”
Congressional staff are generally overworked and underpaid. Talented employees with vast institutional knowledge are eventually forced to choose between Congress and a sustainable lifestyle; the result is a Legislative Branch brain drain with employees leaving for better paying jobs in the Executive Branch or private sector. On top of that, Congress has a diversity problem: staff don’t reflect the constituency their bosses represent.
Continue reading “New Data on House Staff Pay and Retention”
How has the Congressional Research Service’s work changed over the last 30 years? We gathered almost five decades of the agency’s annual reports and built a spreadsheet of its self-reported activities. We found interesting patterns, the absence of expected patterns, and lots of missing data. Our key findings:
First, CRS is decreasing its consultations with clients and shifting its resources to providing written products.
Second, CRS is creating more “new” written products and providing fewer “updated” written products, which suggests a shift away from creating and maintaining in-depth analytical products to comparatively superficial, fast-response pieces.
Third, there’s no apparent connection between the products CRS creates and public access to general distribution CRS reports.
Continue reading “How Has the Congressional Research Service’s Work Changed Over Thirty Years?”