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Congressional Staff Pay, Exposed

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, September 20 2006

Some are calling it "salary porn," and apparently the desire to peek is so strong that this site crashed on its first day of operation, yesterday. But something like Legistorm, which bills itself as "the Web's only source for congressional staff salaries," was definitely bound to happen. By culling publicly available information, the site has made it incredibly easy to discover how much every one of the thousands of Hill staff made in the past budget year.

The site was built by Jock Friedly, a former reporter for The Hill who now runs a suite of sites that collect and disseminate government information, like Storming Media (which specializes in Pentagon reports) and Energy Storm (science citations).

"I think this will add a healthy amount of transparency to how Congress spends taxpayer dollars," said Friedly. "Most salaries are paid to highly educated aides who perform long hours of service to their country," he said. "But occasionally, members of Congress illegally pack their official payroll with ghost employees or campaign workers. In one famous case, a powerful member of Congress even met his political demise by hiring a secretary whose true talents were in the bedroom, not at the typewriter."

I can also see this being a useful tool for anyone looking to discover hidden relationships between Members, their relatives, staffers, lobbyists and government officials.

Hat tip to Taegan Goddard's Political Wire, for breaking the news.

By the way, does Friedly want everyone in the universe looking at weird pictures of his pets, as well as pics of his wedding night? (Actually, for someone who is making a splash shining a light on some of Congress's peccadillos, it's kind of admirable that he is pretty transparent himself.)