Shutdown Imperils Non-Disclosure Payments to Katie, Ashleigh, and Other Hill Interns and Staffers

Keep payouts coming

Congressional leaders are scrambling to make sure the budget stalemate that’s led to a government shutdown this weekend doesn’t impede the regular monthly payments that members of Congress make to to Katie, Ashleigh, and other interns and staffers who’ve agreed not to have lunch or otherwise talk to reporters from the Washington Post, New York Times, or other news organizations about their time on Capitol Hill.

“People think of these non-disclosure payments as a minor budget item but I can tell you they’re not and members are very concerned that these payments not be disrupted due to the shutdown,” a staff aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said today.

Katie

The aide, who asked to remain anonymous in order to speak frankly about sensitive budgetary matters, said lawmakers pay out hundreds of thousands of dollars each month to interns and aides, mostly women but also some men, who’ve signed non-disclosure agreements about their time working on the Hill.  “One of the unfortunate side-effects of a government shutdown is that, unless the payment is considered essential to national security or some other critical function of government, payments simply stop going out,” the aide said. “So, if you’re a member, you have to weigh shutting down the government over, say, undocumented immigrants brought here as children or keeping Ashleigh happy. What you don’t want is that intern you brought in last summer wondering why her monthly check for $2,500 hasn’t come in. Is she going to have to call her friend at the Post? That’s a real consideration for members.”

Ashleigh

The Congressional Budget Office doesn’t disclose how much is paid out each month in non-disclosure agreements, but House and Senate aides say the amount is considerable. “We have one senator whose payouts would fund the military of a small African country,” one aide said.  “Of course, he chairs a powerful committee, so it’s worth it.”

Aides from the House and the Senate have been working on a joint recommendation that the payouts be classified as an essential governmental function and thus exempt from being put on hold during a shutdown. Members are expected to take up the recommendation by Monday, whether or not the broader budget issues are resolved, because of the urgency of the issue.

“We think a case can be made that having hundreds of women all of a sudden start talking about the late-night pizza dinners with their bosses or the diplomatic trips to the Cayman Islands would in fact constitute a national security matter,” an aide said. “You can imagine what a foreign adversary could do with that information. So, we think this could be a non-issue in a few days, But right now we have a number of lawmakers who have something on their minds other than DACA kids, I can tell you that.”

This is a work of satire. It is a fictional news article not meant to be taken seriously. Photos: pd and cc. Creative Commons and public domain. Not necessarily an endorsed use of images.

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