Congressional Staffers Are Being Paid Less Than Ever

I’ve had this in an open tab for a couple of days, but it’s too interesting to close out without sharing:

This is from Josh McCrain, a grad student at Emory. For some reason, salaries for congressional aides have been declining for the past two decades. (All figures are adjusted for inflation.) The only exception is for staff assistants, who can hardly be paid any less.

Why? I have no theories. Maybe in the same way that Silicon Valley engineers are attracted by stock options more than salary, congressional aides these days are attracted mostly by post-Congress lobbying opportunities. Anybody have any other ideas?


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.