Not bad for government work (Part I)

Erika Lovely is reporting in Politico this morning on a survey of Congressional staffers that shows about 2,000 of them make $100,000 or more:

Nearly 2,000 House of Representative staffers pulled down six-figure salaries in 2009, including 43 staffers who earned the maximum $172,500 - or more than three times the median U.S. household income.

Starting salaries on Capitol Hill are still low - many entry-level congressional jobs pay less than $30,000 a year. And many of the most highly paid staffers could make several times the maximum by jumping to lobbying and consulting jobs in the private sector.

But the salary data, compiled by, show that it's possible to make an enviable living in Congress, even without winning an election.

The 43 staffers who maxed out at $172,500 - the salary cap for leadership and committee staffers - include John Lawrence, chief of staff to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; Paula Nowakowski, the late chief of staff to House Minority Leader John Boehner; and House Parliamentarian John Sullivan. They earn only slightly less than members of Congress, who make $174,000.

All the salary data are part of the public record and are culled from congressional office disbursement reports.

Most of the staffers at the top salary level serve in upper-level committee and leadership office staffs, including staff directors, policy advisers and legislative counsels - positions that have often had direct input on the formation of major legislation, such as health care. Many of those staffers also have law degrees.

Public service? What's that?


Hat Tip: Ed Lasky