Life on the Hill is made possible with support from the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. Inspired by the oral history reporting of Studs Terkel, this project reveals the inner workings of Congress through anonymous interviews with over 100 staffers with the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.
Former reporter and Senate Investigator, Paul D. Thacker runs the project. Beginning in early 2012, Thacker began interviewing dozens of Hill Staffers—everyone from Interns to Chiefs of Staff. By providing anonymity, Thacker allows people to give an inside view of one of the most powerful yet secretive institutions in the country.
Most of these conversations take place in the bars and restaurants around Capitol Hill where staffers regularly meet to discuss work and plot the next day’s strategy. In addition, Thacker has traveled to several states to speak with former staff who have left Washington, D.C. He also has spent dozens of hours digging through the archives in the Senate Historian and House Historian offices.
I won’t be doing this job forever, just like most people here. But it will be incredibly hard to leave. Because this job is probably the coolest job that I will ever have.
–Senate Democratic Legislative Assistant
If you’re looking to get a job on the Hill, this is a place unlike any other. There is no one-way to apply. No single process. You have 1,000 people with law degrees, all applying for jobs to make, ya know, $40,000 a year. It’s a bizarre process, and most people will drop out before they ever make it.
–Former Senate Republican Counsel, now in the House