The Congressional Management Foundation has published a new report entitled, Communicating with Congress: How Capitol Hill is Coping with the Surge in Citizen Advocacy.
The Internet and e-mail have made it easier and cheaper than ever before for citizens to communicate with their Members of Congress. In 2004, Congress received 200 million communications, four times more than in 1995 — the direct result of Internet-based communications.
This increased citizen participation in the legislative process has had both positive and negative effects. Nearly 80% of congressional staff surveyed believe that the Internet has made it easier for constituents to become involved in public policy. However, neither the senders nor the receivers of congressional communications have learned how to use the new tools that the Internet has provided truly effectively.
This report is the first of a four part Communicating with Congress series.