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Out of Power But Leading the Charge: Nancy Pelosi Issues the Most Press Releases of 2011

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Former Speaker Pelosi issues the most press releases of any U.S. Representative during the first three months of 2011 - five times the House average and more than 34 other members combined

Although Nancy Pelosi handed off the gavel to Republican Speaker John Boehner last January, she certainly has not slowed down her House office's p.r. machine.

Smart Politics tabulated the number of statements released by each member on their official House website for the first three months of the year - from the beginning of January through the early evening of March 28th, just prior to President Barack Obama's Address to the Nation on Libya.

A review of more than 9,300 official press releases issued by the House's current 433-member body finds that no representative has been busier issuing statements to the press in 2011 than Nancy Pelosi.

During this three-month span, Pelosi was the only member to crack the 100 mark for statements released to the press in their capacity as U.S. Representative - with 106.

(Pelosi also released 113 statements in her capacity as Democratic Minority Leader, many of which duplicated the statements released from her primary House web site).

Pelosi has churned out press releases at nearly five times the rate of the average House member during this span (21.6).

Rep. Pelosi has also released more statements through her House office during the first three months of 2011 (106) than she did during the first three months of 2009 at the start of the 111th Congress (100), as well as through the same periods of 2007 (26), 2005 (44), 2003 (39), and 2001 (14).

Of course, press releases are issued not simply to identify a representative's position on a particular issue, but to drive and frame media coverage sympathetic to that member of congress' policy position.

Rep. Pelosi has devoted the plurality of her press releases to the issue of health care, with 16 of her 106 statements on that policy issue (15.1 percent).

Another 13 statements have focused on the House budget debate and continuing resolutions (12.3 percent) followed by 10 on the economy and jobs (9.4 percent) and five each on Libya and gay rights (4.7 percent).

Overall, 66 of Pelosi's statements have centered on domestic policy (62.3 percent) with 24 on foreign policy (22.6 percent), and 16 non-policy (e.g. personal tributes) or mixed (15.1 percent).

John Boehner, Pelosi's successor, has released the fifth most statements in the House with 64 to date.

(Boehner issued another 106 in his capacity as Speaker - with many of these also duplicating those posted on his primary House page as the U.S. Representative for Ohio's 8th CD).

In addition to Pelosi at #1 and Boehner at #5 several other prominent members of Congress top the media outreach list including:

· 4-term Republican and GOP Policy Committee Chair Tom Price (GA-06) who is tied for #3 with 69 statements.

· 11-term congresswoman and Democratic Steering/Policy Committee Co-Chair Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) who is also tied for #3 with 69 statements.

· 8-term Representative and former Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich (OH-10) at #6 with 63 statements.

· 6-term congressman and former GOP Conference Chairman Mike Pence (IN-06) at #7 with 62 statements.

Rounding out the Top 10 are 19-term Democrat Ed Markey (MA-07) at #2 with 91 press releases, 4-term Republican Charles Boustany (LA-07) at #8 with 61, 5-term Democrat Michael Michaud (ME-02) at #9 with 58, and freshman GOPer David Rivera (FL-25) at #10 with 57.

Republican Eric Cantor comes in at #33 with 44 official statements released so far as Representative of Virginia's 7th CD, with an additional 138 in his capacity as Majority Leader.

When adding up the sum total of press releases for the House leadership in both their capacities as representatives and leaders of their party's caucus, Pelosi still leads the way with 219, followed by Cantor at 182, Boehner at 170, and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer at 95.

To be sure, there is a wide variation in the efforts made by the hundreds of representatives to utilize the press release format to get their message out - including some House members who haven't issued any yet this year, such as Freshman GOPer Marlin Stutzman (IN-03) and Democrats Ed Towns (NY-10) and Mel Watt (NC-12).

Rep. Watt has kept a low profile ever since the Office of Congressional Ethics concluded its review of alleged ethics violations against him and recommended dismissal of the allegations back in September 2010.

Watt's last press release was a statement on the dismissal of these charges last September 10th.

By contrast, Democrat Charlie Rangel - who was censured by the House for ethics violations in December of last year - has taken the opposite approach by releasing 47 statements to the press in 2011, or the 26th largest number in the House.

Rep. Pelosi's 106 statements to date are greater than the bottom 34 House members on this list combined (105).

(Note: This study measures only those press releases that are published on the representative's official house website. With the exception of newcomer Rep. Stutzman, every Representative in the House has published such statements on their House websites).

Variations By Party

Overall, Democratic representatives have issued press releases at a 12.2 percent greater rate than their GOP counterparts during the first three months of 2011.

The current 192 Democratic House members have released 4,423 statements through the afternoon of March 28, or an average of 23.0 per member.

The 241 House Republicans have released 4,930 statements, or an average of 20.5 per member.

Variations by Freshmen vs. Returning Members

It may take some freshmen a little while to get their feet wet in D.C., as the approximately 90 new members of the House have not been producing quite as many press releases as compared to the more than 340 returning members from the 111th Congress.

Returning members have released an average of 22.1 statements, or 12.8 percent more than the 19.6 generated per member by House freshmen through the first three months of 2011.

One of the particularly active freshmen on this front is Republican David Rivera from Florida's 25th CD.

Rivera's 57 press releases lead the way among freshmen and are the 10th most among any House member this year, although he does 'double dip' at times.

In addition to his 'week in review' releases and expected statements on high-profile events such as President Obama's State of the Union Address, the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, and the 100th Anniversary of Ronald Reagan's birth, Rivera also occasionally releases a duplicate statement in Spanish for his Spanish-speaking constituents.

Following Rivera in the Freshman class are Republicans Timothy Griffin (AR-02) with 54 statements (#11 overall), Robert Hurt (VA-05) with 50 (#17), David McKinley (WV-01) with 41 (#38), and Jeff Landry (LA-03) with 38 (#45).

Contrast the freshman press release output to the most seasoned members of the nation's lower legislative chamber: the nearly two-dozen members of the House who have recorded at least 30 years of service are averaging 24.6 press releases so far this year, or 26 percent more than freshmen.

The Office of Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-08) has maintained a high profile during her recovery from January's shooting, issuing 37 statements so far this year, tied for the 48th most in the nation.

Top 50 U.S. Representatives Issuing Press Releases in 2011

Rank
District
Representative
Party
#
1
CA-08
Nancy Pelosi
DEM
106
2
MA-07
Edward Markey
DEM
91
3
CT-03
Rosa DeLauro
DEM
69
3
GA-06
Tom Price
GOP
69
5
OH-08
John Boehner
GOP
64
6
OH-10
Dennis Kucinich
DEM
63
7
IN-06
Mike Pence
GOP
62
8
LA-07
Charles Boustany
GOP
61
9
ME-02
Michael Michaud
DEM
58
10
FL-25
David Rivera
GOP
57
11
NY-22
Maurice Hinchey
DEM
54
11
MI-15
John Dingell
DEM
54
11
AR-02
Timothy Griffin
GOP
54
14
AR-04
Michael Ross
DEM
53
14
NY-17
Eliot Engel
DEM
53
16
WA-02
Rick Larsen
DEM
52
17
RI-01
David Cicilline
DEM
50
17
VA-05
Robert Hurt
GOP
50
17
WV-02
Shelley Moore Capito
GOP
50
20
NY-14
Carolyn Maloney
DEM
49
20
NY-08
Jerrold Nadler
DEM
49
20
WV-03
Nick Rahall
DEM
49
20
PA-18
Timothy Murphy
GOP
49
24
MI-10
Candice Miller
GOP
48
24
MT-01
Denny Rehberg
GOP
48
26
NY-15
Charlie Rangel
DEM
47
27
ME-01
Chellie Pingree
DEM
46
27
TN-09
Steve Cohen
DEM
46
27
CA-09
Barabara Lee
DEM
46
27
CA-34
Lucille Roybal-Allard
DEM
46
27
CA-35
Maxine Waters
DEM
46
32
IA-01
Bruce Braley
DEM
45
33
VA-07
Eric Cantor
GOP
44
34
VT-01
Peter Welch
DEM
43
34
NY-28
Louise Slaughter
DEM
43
36
OH-17
Timothy Ryan
DEM
42
36
GA-01
Jack Kingston
GOP
42
38
CA-05
Doris Matsui
DEM
41
38
AZ-07
Raul Grijalva
DEM
41
38
MD-08
Christopher Van Hollen
DEM
41
38
CA-13
Pete Stark
DEM
41
38
WV-01
David McKinley
GOP
41
43
NY-27
Brian Higgins
DEM
40
43
MI-12
Sander Levin
DEM
40
45
LA-03
Jeff Landry
GOP
38
45
FL-16
Thomas Rooney
GOP
38
45
FL-06
Clifford Stearns
GOP
38
48
AZ-08
Gabrielle Giffords
DEM
37
48
KY-01
Ed Whitfield
GOP
37
50
MD-05
Steny Hoyer
DEM
36
50
IL-12
Jerry Costello
DEM
36
50
VA-04
Randy Forbes
GOP
36
Note: Excludes statements released by Representatives in their capacity as caucus leaders. Compiled by Smart Politics from official U.S. House websites for statements released from January 1, 2011 through the afternoon of March 28, 2011.

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