Camp Rydin has been the site of several trainings over the past year, including one for legislative directors in October and one in December for researchers. The February one, put on by CPI along with the Heritage Foundation and American Accountability Foundation, had panels focusing on basic investigative skills like “Document requests and the Freedom of Information Act” as well as ones on getting media coverage. A panel on “Research and the press” was described as being about “how to work with reporters and to maximize research impact.” It was led by a reporter from Epoch Times, the Falun Gong-affiliated, pro-Trump, conspiracist newspaper.
In other sessions, staffers did mock interviews with “reluctant / recalcitrant witnesses” and came up with group presentations in an “Oversight Shark Tank.”
Staffers for Reps. Matt Rosendale, Scott Perry, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Mary Miller, Anna Paulina Luna and others were invited to the training—15 of the staff invited work for members of Congress who voted to overturn the 2020 election.
While the CPI has held a number of trainings at Camp Rydin over the past year, the oversight one coming in February came in the context of the relentless investigative hearings that had been supposed to be the hallmark of this Republican House kind of … flopping. Committee chairs like Jim Jordan and James Comer are holding hearing after hearing, but they’re not uncovering any new information that’s compelling to anyone outside the Fox News Republican base, and they’re disorganized, with overlapping efforts leading to a “didn’t I already see a hearing on this” feeling for those paying attention.
One person identified as “close to the [Jim Jordan] committee” recently told The Washington Post it was hard to get qualified staff because “a lot of folks don’t think this will be a career enhancement — they don’t think this will get them on the partner track for their firm.” That makes it extra important to train up staffers in the individual congressional offices to get a minimum baseline level of competence in the room.
While the current Republican efforts are not going well, to say the least, the level of investment in infrastructure and training here is like nothing Democrats have. Once again, Republicans are ahead of Democrats in building strength for the future, training the low-level staffers who will be the seasoned operatives of 2028 and 2032 and building a pipeline to ensure that their most extreme members are well supported. The good news is that so far, at least, the extremism on display in the House hearings is not playing well outside the Fox News/Newsmax/OAN bubble. But that doesn’t mean Democrats can afford to sit back and feel complacent.
House Republicans bet everything on loud investigations. It's not going so well for them
House Republicans are showing what really matters to them, one repetitive hearing after another
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