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Donald R. Wolfensberger


Headshot of Donald R. Wolfensberger

Donald R. Wolfensberger is a BPC fellow, and congressional scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He served as a staff member in the U.S. House of Representatives for 28 years, beginning as legislative director for his home district Representative John B. Anderson, from 1969 to 1978. In 1979, Anderson named him minority counsel on the House Rules Committee’s Subcommittee on Rules of the House. In 1981, then-Representative Trent Lott tapped him as minority counsel for the Rules Subcommittee on Legislative Process, and in 1989-90, he served in that same capacity for Representative Lynn Martin. In 1991, he was appointed by Rules Committee ranking Republican Gerald B.H. Solomon as minority staff director of the full committee, and in 1995 Solomon appointed him as chief-of-staff of the committee, a position in which he served until February 1997.

Upon his retirement from the House he was appointed public policy scholar at the Wilson Center, during which time he wrote the book, Congress and the People: Deliberative Democracy on Trial (Johns Hopkins and Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2000). In June 1999, he was appointed director of the newly formed Congress Project at the Wilson Center, organizing seminars involving current and former Members of Congress, congressional scholars, and congressional reporters, to discuss important policy issues before Congress and how the politics and processes affect outcomes.

He earned a B.A. in English from North Central College and successfully completed course work towards an M.A. in political science at the University of Iowa.He formerly wrote a twice monthly column, “Procedural Politics,” for the popular Capitol Hill Newspaper, Roll Call, currently writes frequent opinion pieces on Congress for The Hill newspaper, and frequently lectures on how Congress operates to student groups, diplomats and executive branch employees.

Read Wolfensberger’s “Procedural Politics” columns in Roll Call here.