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Emily Cottle Ommundsen

PhD Candidate, expected graduation in May 2024

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Investments in Institutional Capacity (Roberts, Treul, Kroeger, Curry, Wiseman). Members of Congress run for office with a variety of goals they hope to achieve if elected. How members go about achieving these goals is constrained by numerous institutional factors, yet there exist two areas in which members hold a great deal of discretion: the allocation of their time and budget. As the de facto CEO of their small business, members must make decisions regarding the operation of their enterprise. They must determine where their priorities lie and how best to establish their office to meet such goals. New members, in particular, as they enter Congress with a fresh slate and an empty office, are confronted with a slew of organizational choices they must make, often before their first day in office. In this dissertation, I uncover how the choices members and committee chairs make in establishing and maintaining their congressional and committee offices affect both their legislative and electoral outcomes. By analyzing where members and chairs choose to devote their resources, we can learn if members put their money where their mouth is.

Research Interests

  • Introduction to American Politics;
  • Congress;
  • The President, Congress, and Public Policy


Legislative Studies Quarterly (forthcoming), Political Behavior (forthcoming), PS: Political Science & Politics (forthcoming), The Forum.