Who’s at work for Congress

EVER wonder who’s sitting behind, say, Virginia Sen. John Warner during a Senate hearing?

Well, it’s obviously Aide 151. That mysterious, behind-the-scenes assistant is the kind of person who might be profiled in “The Almanac of the Unelected”; the 2008 edition, published in June, is a 760-page tome that shines a light on who does what in Washington.

The book profiles more than 600 senior congressional committee staff members, looking at previous positions and publications, providing contact information and even photographs. So it could come in handy, say, if you were planning to lobby on Capitol Hill.

In an election year, it could make for practically endless entertainment for a political completist. Find out who’s been giving Barack Obama briefing papers for the Foreign Relations Committee, or trace how John McCain’s position on transportation was formed by his committee work. Find out for yourself how much of our presidential candidates’ policies were formed by aides with ties to industry or activism or Harvard Law.


Sadly, this parlor game doesn’t come cheap. The 2008 “Almanac of the Unelected” costs $289. The 2006 version is only a tenth the price -- but with it, you won’t really be up on who’s who right now.

-- Carolyn Kellogg