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Part 1: The Lobbyist

Public documents show that from 2000 through mid-2005, Capitol Hill staffers accepted nearly 17,000 free trips worth almost $30 million. Many of these trips clearly violate ethics rules designed to limit the abuse of power.

The Data

See where your representatives and staff are traveling.


Congressional Staffers was produced for Marketplace by American RadioWorks, the documentary unit of American Public Media in cooperation with The Center for Public Integrity and Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

Congressional Staffers is the latest installment of Power Trips investigative reporting begun in 2004.

Power Trips and Lobbyists Loophole put the spotlight on the little known loophole that allows members of Congress to accept travel from educational organizations and non-profits, even those run by powerful DC lobbyists.

Pombo in the Gray revealed that in at least one case, a U.S. Representative broke the law by accepting international travel paid for by a private foundation.

Chilled Travel examined the drop in travel following the first Power Trips report.

Part 2: General Atomics

There is a deep, abiding relationship between corporations and key congressional staffers. It is a system with little oversight where special interests spend millions of dollars to buy access to powerful members of congress and key staff. The top corporate sponsor is a defense contractor you may never have heard of.

Part 3: The Big Fish

Sometimes, the story is what you don't find. Members of Congress and their staffers may have never filed the disclosure reports required by House and Senate rules for some of their trips.



The series was the result of a year-long investigation by American Public Media reporters, Northwestern University Medill School graduate students and Center for Public Integrity staffers.

For the Marketplace and American RadioWorks series of stories and database:
Producers: Steve Henn and William Kistner
Editors: Chris Farrell and Margaret Koval

Web Producer and Database: Ochen Kaylan
Web Assistance: Trent Gilliss and Richard Core
Database Assistance: Andy Beger, Rajesh Kapur and Maria Montello

For American RadioWorks:
Executive Editor: Stephen Smith
Executive Producer: Bill Buzenberg

For Marketplace:
Vice President of Programming & Executive Producer: J.J. Yore

For Medill School of Journalism:
Assistant Dean/Co-Director: Ellen Shearer

Photo: PATRICK BERNARD/AFP/Getty Images