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Republican members of Congress are picking up more former lobbyists this year than in any year since 2011 after their last mid-term election success.
Staffers are moving in both directions between Republican offices and K Street in larger numbers than their Democratic counterparts so far this year. With two quarters of lobbying registrations filed, LegiStorm has tracked 284 former staffers who switched from Congress to lobbying, compared to 401 in all of 2014 and 443 two years ago.
Republicans have the majority, with 54.9 percent to Democrats' 38.7 percent.
But Republicans make up the vast majority of new staff who were lobbyists, after GOP success in the 2014 mid-term elections and the taking of the Senate majority. Eighty-three former lobbyists have taken Hill jobs this year and 75.9 percent of them are Republicans, compared to a nearly 50-50 split last year and a Democratic majority in 2013.
The 63 Republicans who have moved to Hill offices so far in 2015 is a larger number than in any full year since 2011, just after massive GOP success in the 2010 mid-terms, when 174 made the switch.
Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) have the top five spots for most revolving door staff since LegiStorm tracking began of salaries in 2000 and lobbying registrations in 2001. Only two members of Congress have more than four current staffers who were lobbyists: Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) with five each.
LegiStorm's revolving door tracking is conservative and includes only those staffers or former staffers who have filed lobbying registrations, excluding others who work in advocacy jobs but have not filed.
An alumna of the University of Missouri working for Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) has returned to her roots with a federal relations job at her alma mater.
Meghan Sanguinette started this month as assistant director of federal relations for the University of Missouri System in D.C. after three years in Congress working for Luetkemeyer in various positions, including legislative assistant. She graduated from Mizzou in 2012, earning a bachelor's in political science and government.
The university system has lobbied this year on issues including budget and appropriations issues for research and education as well as Medicare and Medicaid. Sanguinette covered a similar range of topics for the congressman, including education and appropriations.
The school's D.C. lobbying office reopened after six years in the spring.
A national law firm that lobbies on issues ranging from defense to banking has hired a former Hill scheduler and director of operations as a legislative analyst.
Ivana Brancaccio has two years of experience in Congress with Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.) and most recently Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.). She joined Kutak Rock LLP, which has lobbied for years for clients such as West Gate Bank, cities and townships in several states and Satellite Communications for Learning Inc.
Brancaccio also has experience interning for Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and as a media monitor and researcher for the Nevada State Democratic Party. She has a 2012 bachelor's in international relations and affairs from American University.
With at least 12 telephone town hall events scheduled in the upcoming days and months, members of Congress expressed concern during a Tuesday hearing that the Federal Communications Commission was limiting their ability to reach constituents with telephone town halls.
A misunderstanding about existing robocall restrictions to cell phones sparked questions from lawmakers Tuesday. LegiStorm has tracked 310 telephone town halls in the last year alone, which represented 11.4 percent of a total 2,718 events.
In-person town halls make up the vast majority of the events - 79 percent in the last year - though telephone town halls can be difficult to track when they are announced only by robocall to constituents. LegiStorm monitors thousands of sources - tweets, press releases, newsletters, legislator web sites and unofficial sources - to collect town hall data.
Roll Call reported after the hearing that telephone town halls were effectively banned. But at least one vendor, Tele-Town Hall LLC, clarified Wednesday that the rule against auto-dialing cell phone numbers is long-standing and the company dials cell numbers only if a constituent opts into the call.
FCC spokesman Will Wiquist said Wednesday the restrictions are not new and have been in place since 1991. Although Wiquist said the FCC can't speak to the practices of companies managing the calls, he said many likely scrub their lists to ensure they are calling only landlines.
"As long as vendors for tele-town halls continue to adhere to the decades-old rules, use of these services should pose no issue," he said by email.
Members of Congress are marking town hall milestones and making plans at restaurants, libraries and churches with constituents ahead of the August recess.
During the August recess, Republicans will continue their more than 2-to-1 dominance in town hall meetings this year, with 452 scheduled for Democrats and 1,221 for Republicans in 2015. House Republicans have scheduled 56 town halls through early September compared to Democrats' 18, according to LegiStorm tracking so far. Many more town halls are expected to be announced over the coming weeks.
LegiStorm monitors thousands of sources for town hall information and tracks events in which the member of Congress is a direct participant in person, online, on the phone or on the radio.
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) marks a special occasion Aug. 5 at a noon town hall in Larned - it will be his 300th town hall event. Other members plan to discuss the Iran nuclear deal, federal budget, economy and security as well as veterans' issues at town halls across the country.
Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) also has unusual plans for a week after recess, with a light rail town hall scheduled on the W Line in Lakewood for Sept. 14. He plans to discuss transportation and infrastructure issues during the "commuting with your congressman" event.
We spend a large part of our days looking at data. Documents often come in by the dozens and hundreds. And while most are boring - how interesting can staring at a phone directory or salary records be, for example? - we find daily reasons for interest, amusement or even concern packed in the documents. So we are launching a new running feature that we call "Caught our Eye."
Longer than tweets but shorter than most blog posts, Caught our Eye items will bring back the interest in reviewing documents and researching people. Some items might bring hard, breaking news. Others will raise eyebrows and lead some into further inquiry. Others might be good for a joke or two around the water cooler. All will enlighten about the people or workings of Capitol Hill.
Caught our Eye items will be published each morning for LegiStorm Pro subscribers. Non-Pro site users will be able to receive the news items a few hours later. In addition to having immediate access to the news, LegiStorm Pro users will have a handy way to search and browse all past items.