Each June, the hallways of the U.S. Capitol building are flooded with congressional interns hailing from every corner of the country.
These interns, famous for their ability to retrieve coffee, listen to disgruntled constituents and embarrass their bosses, are often a cause of headaches for senior Capitol Hill staffers.
This summer is no different, but now we have an insider’s view after one of those interns (who asked to remain anonymous) sent Business Insider some screenshots from the app “Cloakroom.”
Cloakroom is an anonymous gossip app (like Yik Yak) that allows anyone with a congressional email address (either from “@senate.gov” or “@house.gov”) to view and contribute to the anonymous discussion.
The subject of the complaints range from interns making bad fashion choices:
To mocking the ambition of the young and eager:
Some rose to the defence of the interns, noting that other staffers were setting unreasonable expectations. Another user noted that complaining about interns is “part of the process.”
If we had to guess, it sounds like a lot of posts come from young staffers, whose own experiences as an intern are still fresh in their minds.
One problem that interns frequently face is an inexperience with security procedures. This can cause major delays in the morning, when more senior Congressional staffers held up by confused interns who take multiple trips through the metal detector.
Interns attending key hearings is a long standing tradition on Capitol Hill. Showing deference to more senior staffers is an even longer standing tradition. This staffer was irked that interns took up all the seats during an important hearing on Obamacare.
Cloakroom creator Ted Henderson is a former staffer of Rep. Dale Kildee, and he created the app so that Congressional staffers would have a place to anonymously converse, according to Roll Call.
Multiple high-profile staffers recently lost their jobs due to poor decisions of social media, including Rep. Steve Stivers’ Chief of Staff Adam Kuhn , who resigned after a porn star tweeted an explicit photograph of him, and Rep. Steve Fincher’s communications director Elizabeth Lauten, who resigned after posting a scathing Facebook status about Obama’s two daughters.
Henderson promises Cloakroom is a safe space.
“Cloakroom is completely disconnected from your real identity,” Henderson said. Contributors even can activate a nuclear option, which permanently deletes all posts they have ever authored.
Nearly every day, new gossip about interns pours into the anonymous discussion, and the interns are watching — interestingly enough, most have the necessary email credentials to gain access the discussion.
If working or interning and using Cloakroom on Capitol Hill this summer, send Business Insider what you’re seeing! Email [email protected]
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