Color of Congress

We teamed up with Dr. James Jones,  lead researcher of the 2016 report for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, to understand how interns are racially represented in the House of Representatives.

Congressional internships pave the way to establishing lifelong political careers. But our research shows  a lawmaker’s race, political party, and the demographic composition of their congressional district all have a strong effect on whom they hire as interns. The majority of congressional interns of color work for members of one of the three minority caucuses, whereas White members of both political parties are more likely to hire White interns, which essentially hands White students an important employment credential. We’re calling on Congress to democratize the administration of congressional internships with expanded funding for stipends, increased engagement with and recruitment from communities of color, prioritization of need-based applicants, and more transparent hiring practices.

Click to view the FULL REPORT

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Lack of Transparency Creates Barriers for Young Professionals

Why we’re urging members of the House to update their website information.

Young professionals seeking internships in Washington D.C. experience a variety of barriers in their search process. Compensation is one of the most important factors taken into consideration, and our research reveals only 9% of offices in the House of Representatives provide information about payment of interns on their websites. This lack of transparency is a disservice to people who require payment for their service and disproportionately affects underrepresented communities. We’re calling on members to update their websites with more accuracy and transparency.

Click to view our Full Statement

Experience Doesn’t Pay the Bills


An internship for a congressperson is the quintessential prerequisite for a political career, particularly if the intern chooses to work in our government later in life. While the internship is an undeniably invaluable experience and is critical for professional growth, an internship in Congress will cost each intern upwards of $6,000, according to an extensive breakdown of the total costs of an out-of-state internship by Time journalist Alexandra Mondalek. The overwhelming majority of internships offered in both the Senate and U.S. House of Representatives are unpaid, creating a situation where the majority of individuals able to work Congressional internships come from families of higher economic status or suffer crippling financial pressure.

We talked to congressmen all over the hill about the internships they offered. We have collected data to create this full list of who pays and who doesn’t.

Click to view the report: CONGRESSIONAL REPORT