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5 Things Reps Should Do to Be More Transparent

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With 67 new representatives and 12 new senators just sworn in, it's likely that many members of the 113th Congress are still learning the way to their offices. As they get settled, here are 5 recommendations that they (and their colleagues) could implement right now to be more transparent. 1. Create an Online Guest Book Starting the day they they were sworn in, lobbyists, well-wishers, and constituents have streamed into member offices. While visitors to the White House are listed online, the same isn't true for visitors to congressional offices. At their front doors, representatives should set up an electronic guest book where visitors are encouraged to type in their names, briefly summarize why they're visiting, and say whether they're a federally registered lobbyist. That information should be posted on the member's website. In addition, members should post online their just completed daily schedule of activities, as maintained by their scheduler, at the end of each day. It will help people better understand what they do on a daily basis. 2. Who's Who in the Office Most meetings that take place in a congressional office are with staff, not the representative. Each staffer is the member's point person for a particular topic. All offices should post online a list of staff working in the office and the issue areas they handle. (Some already do this.) This info is already available from private companies for a fee, but it should be available for everyone.

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