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Members Pay Thousands for Advice, Team Building

In general, communications is a big thing for Congressional training. Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Neb.) paid $900 for public-speaking training for his staff; Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) paid his campaign media consultant $2,650 out of his office account to provide media training to his staff; and Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) paid $3,250 in January to a Maryland communications firm to work with staff on "best practices in terms of being clear when we are talking to constituents," spokesman Dan Weber said. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) hired a motivational speaker named James Parker to speak to her staff for $3,000.

And sometimes, Members and their staff just need help keeping everything in order. Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine) paid $900 to The Organizer Inc. "to help our staff improve organizational skills given the extremely high volume of constituent requests that come across all of their desks," spokesman Ed Gilman said.

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