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Caught Our Eye items are posted daily. LegiStorm Pro subscribers have access to all posts a few hours before other users, and are also able to search the full Caught Our Eye archive. Log in as a LegiStorm Pro user or learn more about subscribing.

Senate legislative counsel exits for job with Lyft

Posted by Jenna Ebersole on May 13, 2015

A longtime attorney for the Senate Legislative Counsel's office has been picked up by Lyft, taking a position as legislative counsel with the ride-sharing firm.

The driving app company, along with Uber which has become particularly popular on the Hill, has launched lobbying efforts in the last few years as it confronts concerns from the taxi industry. Robert Grant moved in April to Lyft, where he serves as legislative counsel.

Grant has nearly a decade of experience working for the Senate Legislative Counsel in stints as staff attorney and assistant and senior counsel since his first job there in 2004. In between, he has also worked as senior counsel to the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

The former congressional staffer, who has a bachelor's from the University of Virginia and a 2002 law degree from Tulane University Law School, also worked as an economist at the IRS before getting his law degree.

Teen pop singer turns congressional staffer in Graves' office

Posted by Jenna Ebersole on May 12, 2015

For many of the youngest Capitol Hill staffers, experience in a congressional office tops their career highlights. But for one 20-year-old who works for Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), graduating before turning 21 and starting in Congress may rank somewhere in the middle.

Katelynne Cox is a 20-year-old legislative correspondent and staff assistant who has recorded one album with a label and two EPs in her career as a teen pop singer. Her album "One Girl" was released in 2011 with Red Hammer Records following her first independent EP in 2008 and a second, "Erase It," last summer.

"Politicians and our parents, we can't leave it up to them. We may be young but we are strong and this is our chance to begin," she sings in one song.

Cox has a bachelor's in communication studies and political science from the University of Missouri - Columbia and also has experience modeling.

Democratic senators and representatives hire significantly more racial minorities than Republicans

Posted by Jenna Ebersole on May 11, 2015

Democrats on the Hill hire significantly more non-white staffers than Republicans in either the House or Senate, LegiStorm data shows.

The split between the parties is particularly pronounced in the House, where 66.5 percent of Democratic staff is Caucasian compared to 93.7 percent of Republican staff. The data is available with LegiStorm's new tool, which allows for filtering Congress by age, gender, party, race and religion in real time.

The House staff race divide closely mirrors the racial divide between members in the House in each party. Republican members are 95.9 percent white, compared to 61.3 percent of Democratic members.

But in the Senate, even though senators from both parties are white by a huge majority, Democratic senators also have more racial diversity in their offices. Democratic members, who are 93.2 percent white, employ staffs that are 79.5 percent white. Republican senators are 94.4 percent white and 93.3 percent of their staff is also white.

Blacks make up the largest minority among staffers in both chambers, at 8.5 percent overall in the House and 6.2 percent overall in the Senate, followed by Hispanics and Asians. 

LegiStorm's race data is based on visual identification and other cues obtained in our research, such as name and languages spoken. Because race identification is not confirmed with individual staffers, the data is most useful in the aggregate and LegiStorm does not identify the race of individual staffers on its site.

Bilirakis adviser jumps to American Public Works Association

Posted by Jenna Ebersole on May 8, 2015

A Republican senior policy adviser in the House has taken a government affairs position at a nonprofit registered to lobby Congress.

Josh Reiner, who has served in several roles in the office of Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) since 2012, became government affairs manager at the American Public Works Association in April. He has worked on the Hill since 2007, beginning in Rep. Wally Herger's (R-Calif.) office as a staff assistant and systems administrator.

APWA lobbies on a variety of issues, from highway and transportation funding to FEMA. Reiner, who has a bachelor's from Southwestern University and a master's from George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management, has no record of registering to lobby.

McCaul chief of staff takes position at Levick

Posted by Jenna Ebersole on May 7, 2015

Rep. Michael McCaul's (R-Texas) chief of staff has moved to a firm where one of his former bosses on the Hill is registered to lobby.

Hans Klingler started as McCaul's chief of staff in 2013 and also has experience working as former Rep. Connie Mack's (R-Fla.) chief of staff from 2010-11 and as deputy chief of staff to the House Republican Conference from 2011-13. He now serves as senior vice president at Levick Strategic Communications LLC, where Mack is executive vice president.

Klingler registered to lobby once before while working at Arnold Public Affairs, where he advocated between 2002 and 2004 for the Danielle Dawn Smalley Foundation. Levick lobbies for a range of clients, from Texas Roadhouse Inc. to the Turkish Institute for Progress.

Klingler, who has a bachelor's from Texas Tech University, also worked on the Hill in the 1990s as political director for then-Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas).

About Caught Our Eye

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.