WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

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Tracking Congressional Staffers On The Campaign Trail

Congress is in recess — and has been for close to two months — with a lighter workload than usual for many congressional staffers. But many of those staffers are just out working on campaigns, which critics say crosses a line. 

With the election just a day away, both presidential candidates are hitting swing states like Iowa to make their last minute appeals at rallies like the one Vice President Joe Biden appeared at in Fort Dodge, Iowa last week. To get campaign events off the ground takes a lot of volunteers — and many of the most trusted come from Washington. 

"Every two years there's a large migration from Capitol Hill to the campaign trail," says Jock Friedly, president of Legistorm, which tracks congressional staffers.

There's no way to tell how many Hill staffers are working on campaigns until later in the year. But lawmakers and staffers often blur the line between their government duties and partisan politicking, Friedly says. The data Legistorm has collected makes it seem like lawmakers reward those staffers for their campaign work, Friedly adds. 

"We've certainly seen staff who have been gone for much of the year, show up in November or December after the campaign and get large bonuses," Friedly says. "And that doesn't sit right and raises very obvious questions about whether that really was a campaign bonus or a government bonus."

After Tuesday's election, lawmakers will come back to D.C. for the lame duck session of Congress. So will hundreds of Hill staffers, many of whom will be looking to be rewarded for slogging it out on the campaign trail. 

WAMU 88.5

The Music And Legacy Of Motown

Motown founder Berry Gordy and director Charles Randolph-Wright of “Motown the Musical" join Diane for a conversation about the history of Detroit's famous sound.


New York City To Require Sodium Warnings On Restaurant Menus

New York City has implemented a new rule requiring chain restaurants to put sodium warnings on their menus. Menu items that contain lots of salt will be marked with an icon of a salt shaker.
WAMU 88.5

Chicago Police Chief Firing And Efforts To Boost Public Trust Of Police Nationwide

Chicago's mayor fires the city's police chief amid protests over the response to the police killing of a black teenager. An update on efforts to boost public trust in police forces across the country.

WAMU 88.5

Computer Guys And Gal

Another year is coming to a close and the Computer Guys And Gal are here to discuss this year's biggest technology news, including the growth of virtual reality and the "Internet of Things."

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