We obtain our data for this site from the official record books: the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House reports. The Senate publishes its data every six months; the House, every three months. It takes several weeks for these offices to publish their data and it takes another few short days for LegiStorm to get the data into our database. Therefore, the most recent information is not available on our site.
For the most part, elected members of Congress make the same as each other. But they have broad discretion in how they pay their staff.
A few aides are well paid by any measure. Many others make an embarrassing sum, especially in an expensive city such as Washington, DC at jobs that can have a ferocious intensity to them. While Congress is in session, Congressional aides often work well into the night, sometimes into the early morning, to craft legislation or to broker deals with the administration.
And yet because of their prestige, competition for congressional jobs is fierce. Lawyers with Ivy League educations seek positions earning a small fraction of what they might work for at a private law firm. In fact, many experienced congressional staffers leave the public sector to find jobs in the private sector making many times what they make in Congress. Of course, their value in the private sector is sometimes enhanced not by their skills but by the personal connections they make while working for Congress.
We encourage all users to keep in mind that information on our site can easily be misused, that raw data can have limitations. Sometimes context is vitally important. With that said, we are pleased to make congressional salaries available on the web for the first time.