Congressional Staff Salary Analysis

I mentioned last post that Sunlight Foundation out of the House’s recently released electronic 3,300-page report on . Their statistics showed a wide range of salaries for the different types of staff jobs in Congress. I did some further analysis on whether staff salaries are correlated with the congressman’s tenure in office, with some surprising results.

The District Director position had a salary that started at $81k for freshman congressmen and went up $580 for each year the congressman was in office. The two other senior positions of Chief of Staff (mean $126k) and Legislative Director (mean $75k) didn’t appear to change with the congressman’s seniority. For the jobs that multiple people could fill, I didn’t divide it by person, so for these we can see the total spend on Legislative Assistants started at $76k for freshman congressmen and went up $880 for each year the congressmen has held office, and for Staff Assistants a total of $48k freshman + $2,500/year. (These all reached high statistical significance.). Like Chief of Staff, Legislative Correspondent (mean $42k) had no variation by time in office.

Also reported is the yearly expense on franked mail. This interestingly decreased by $1,300 per year in office. Similarly, “printing and reproduction” decreased by $2,000 per year in office.

I think it is interesting that the Chief of Staff salary is so stable. It might mean that congressmen make sure they are on an equal footing by all hiring from the same pool of experienced candidates, and also that chiefs of staffs don’t consider it a perk (i.e. willing to take a pay cut) or a detriment (i.e. wanting more pay) to work for new or older congressmen either. Not that we should take the numbers too seriously without more research. Elder congressmen get access to committee staff, for instance. That might change how they make use of their office staff. On the other hand, the data is very messy and there are a lot of outliers that I haven’t cleaned up.

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6 Comments

    1. Nicki: You misread my post. I wrote that $48k was spent on all staff assistants in an office. So the average wage for any one staff assistant would be less.

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  1. Well it is my understanding that our congressmen gt a salary of $ 157,000 plus $ 2 million for thre offices dito mailing. puls there healthcare and other benefits. kindly correct your message or mine in case I am misinformed.

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    1. That’s about right. The salary is for the Member of Congress himself. The office budget, called an MRA, goes mostly toward paying staff, and at least in the House, Members of Congress are understaffed.

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  2. On the STATE side the new officers fo the Governor Snyder are hired at $ 300,000 so there is the sacrifice …

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  3. Congress never needs to worry about waiting 24 months for medicare if they become disabled, as a tax payer I made sure of that.

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