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Mar 29, 2023Liked by Sheril Kirshenbaum

As a non DC resident and layman citizen, it can be hard enough to keep the 535 (or 538?) members of Congress straight, let alone also following the inputs and machinations of their senior staffers. But I agree that when staffers are the real actors behind the scenes, it is incumbent upon the legislators involved to also acknowledge their staff's contributions, possibly even describing how and when a particular staffer proved persuasive enough to override a legislator's original resistance to a new or old idea. [Wasn't it Reagan who asserted that there was no limit to what you could accomplish a long as you weren't worried about who might end up claiming credit?]

This is really part of the level of enhanced transparency that we should see in both the legislative and executive branches. And especially if the lobbyists are actually visiting with senior (or junior) staffers, then their respective involvement, the topics discussed, and the potential outcomes/ acceptances, etc. should be documented "somehow". Maybe something similar to when the FBI interviews someone and then the agent writes up a Form 302? [My quick search on this says "... current guidelines prevent the agency from recording interviews with electronic devices." I did not realize such recordings were specifically excluded practice in FBI interviews, and probably that practice should be changed, with recordings augmenting the follow-on written 302 form (or vice versa).]

Some years ago I read in some book on government practices the recommendation that to improve the accountability of the legislature for the rules and regulations whose creation and management is currently delegated to the executive agencies, that a larger fraction of the executive branch staff (and their respective expertise) should be brought over under control of the legislative branch. This would (supposedly) force the Congress and its law making function to be more precise in describing the laws it creates, and hopefully reduce the opportunity for interpretive overreach in the enforcement agencies. But also this would more closely align the intent of the Constitution's Article I vs. Article II roles.

Welcome your thoughts on this idea.

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