10 Things in Politics: Money diaries of broke Hill staffers

Good morning and welcome to 10 Things in Politics. If this was forwarded to you, sign up here.

I’m Insider senior politics reporter Grace Panetta, filling in for Brent Griffiths. You can send me tips at [email protected] or @grace_panetta on Twitter

Here’s what we’re talking about today:


With Jordan Erb.


A staffer places tape markers for social distancing before the start of a news conference with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
A staffer places tape markers for social distancing before the start of a news conference with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

1. THE MONEY DIARIES OF HILL STAFFERS: Capitol Hill staffers have put up with low wages for years. And now, eight current and former staffers shared their budgets to show how thin they’re stretched.

Ambitious Capitol Hill staffers open up about working second jobs, snagging free food, and struggling to cover expenses on salaries starting in the $20,000s. All work grueling jobs in one of the most expensive cities in the country.

Some insights:

  • A legislative aide making $45,500 revealed that after their monthly pay, expenses, debt payments, and some financial help from their family… they have -$27 left over.
  • A former Republican House staff assistant who made $30,500 revealed they had to work a second job with Postmates.
  • A Democratic senior staffer puts most of their paycheck towards childcare: “As you can see, my takehome barely covers daycare.”

See how Capitol Hill staffers get creative to make their salaries last the month.


President Joe Biden with the Earth behind him and Mark T. Gallogly peeking out from behind the Earth on a green background.

2. The mysterious mogul advising the Biden admin: You won’t find a trace of his name in most public documents. Administration officials refuse to speak publicly about what exactly he does. In a new investigation, we pull back the curtain on Mark T. Gallogly, the most important climate official you’ve never heard of.

  • Gallogly, a top advisor to Biden climate envoy John Kerry, co-founded the $28 billion private-equity firm Centerbridge Partners.

The secrecy around Gallogly’s job at the State Department and the largely unknown scope of his climate-related holdings and investments pose thorny ethical questions.

  • As former White House ethics czar Walt Shaub summed it up: “Yikes.”

Gallogly “has played both sides of the climate crisis” in his time as a high-powered financier, our investigation found. His firm has invested in fossil fuel and transportation, while his family investment office pursues sustainable investment initiatives.

Dozens of environmental groups have criticized Gallogly’s appointment and called for him to be removed, including in one petition casting him as part of a “vulture capitalism.”

Read our exclusive investigation digging into the mysterious Mark T. Gallogly here.


3. Biden’s pick to oversee Capitol riot cases: The White House is expected to nominate Matt Graves as US Attorney for the District of Columbia. Graves formerly prosecuted fraud and public corruption cases for the DC US Attorney’s office before leaving in 2016.

He could soon be tasked with managing the 450+ federal cases of defendants charged in connection to the January 6 insurrection. Check out our searchable table of everyone who’s been charged in the Capitol riot so far.


4. Biden and AG Merrick Garland outline new steps to tackle gun violence: Biden and Garland addressed the spiking rates of homicide and other violent crimes in major cities while speaking at the Justice Department on Wednesday, zeroing in on illegal gun trafficking in particular.

  • “We are announcing a major crackdown on the stem of the flow of guns used to commit violent crimes,” Biden said. “It is zero tolerance for those who willfully violate key existing laws and regulations.”

Their remarks followed a new DOJ initiative to establish five new “strike forces” targeting illegal weapons traffickers in major cities.


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Brandi Levy, a former cheerleader at Mahanoy Area High School in Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania and a key figure in a major U.S. case about free speech, poses in an undated photograph provided by the American Civil Liberties Union. Danna Singer/ACLU via Reuters

5. Student cheerleader wins a big free-speech case: The Supreme Court sided with a former Pennsylvania high school student who sued her school district for suspending her from the cheerleading team over profane Snapchat messages.

“F— school, f— softball, f— cheer, f— everything,” a then-14-year-old Brandi Levy posted on Snapchat while off campus, her response to not making the varsity cheer squad.

The court held in a 8-1 decision that the school’s interests in policing off-campus speech did not override Levy’s right to free expression.


6. Sanders and Dems have a backup plan: Bernie Sanders and Democrats are working on a second infrastructure plan in case their current one fails. Documents obtained by Insider show the full details of the $6 trillion plan.

Dems are still deciding what makes the final cut, but a sample of what’s included:

  • Lowering Medicare eligibility to 60;
  • $150 billion toward a clean electricity payment program.

Get more details – and see the documents – here.


7. Florida cracks down on intellectual “indoctrination”: Republican governor Ron DeSantis signed legislation requiring public universities to survey students and staff about their beliefs – purportedly to determine the state of “intellectual diversity” on campuses.


Jared Kushner and Trump
WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 11: Advisor Jared Kushner (R) looks on as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks in the Oval Office to announce that Bahrain will establish diplomatic relations with Israel, at the White House in Washington, DC on September 11, 2020. The announcement follows one last month by Israel and the United Arab Emirates that they would seek to normalize relations with each other. Photo by Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images

8. Trump jealous of Jared Kushner’s book advance: Per a CNN report, Trump is jealous that his son-in-law struck a seven-figure deal for a memoir about his work as a senior White House official.


9. Antivirus mogul John McAfee has died by apparent suicide: McAfee, 75, was found dead in a Barcelona jail cell on Wednesday. McAfee was being held in Spain while awaiting extradition on tax evasion charges – which Spain’s National Court approved earlier that day. Here’s what we know so far.


10. Should you return to in-office work or stay remote? This quiz might be able to help you decide: Wonder if you’re cut out for fully remote work? How about a hybrid situation? Or would you be better off heading to the office each day? Take the quiz to find out.


Today’s trivia question: In honor of the NBA playoffs, which former New Jersey senator used to be a professional basketball player? Email your answer and a proposed question to [email protected].