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Shawn Zeller


Shawn Zeller is a senior writer for CQ Weekly. He is responsible for the magazine's Vantage Point section and writes about a variety of topics including lobbying, politics, regulation and civil service issues. In 2008, he helped cover the presidential campaign for Politifact.com, a joint project of CQ and the St. Petersburg Times that was awarded a 2009 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for its campaign coverage.

Zeller came to CQ in June 2005 after two years as a staff correspondent with Government Executive magazine. There, he covered government human resources issues and civil service reform. Prior to that, he was a reporter for National Journal for six years. In that role, he covered lobbying and developed the magazine's semi-annual top 10 survey of Washington lobbying firms.

Zeller is a 1997 graduate of Harvard College where he earned a degree in American History and Literature. He's from Boston originally.

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Stories by Shawn Zeller:

CQ Roll Call Survey of Hill Staff Finds Cruz, Trump on the Rise

Jan. 27, 2016

Republican staffers on Capitol Hill still are hoping Florida Sen. Marco Rubio will win the GOP presidential nomination, but more of them are having doubts that he'll be able to do it.

Warning Signs on Traditional Polling

Jan. 13, 2016

The failure of Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign pollsters to forecast the race -- they truly believed he was in position to win -- demonstrated just how easily pollsters can miss an election’s result by misjudging the turnout. But at least in that instance, most of the big national polls had President Barack Obama in the lead. There was no systematic failure.

State of the Union: Five Things That Might Happen, Five That Won't

Jan. 13, 2016

Not much is expected in the final year of a presidential administration, especially one marked by partisan gridlock.

2016 Could Mark Telephone Poll's Last Stand

Jan. 13, 2016

Ask any pollster how confident they are that voters will really choose Donald Trump, the demagogic businessman, as the Republican presidential nominee, and they’ll say, “Not very.”

CQ Roll Call Survey: Congressional Staff Feel Safe on the Hill

Dec. 17, 2015

If the goal of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and California was to inspire fear in the Western world, it hasn’t shaken those who work in the greatest seat of power. The CQ Roll Call Capitol Insiders Survey this month found that nine out of 10 congressional staffers feel safe in the Capitol.

CQ Roll Call Survey Finds Little Shutdown Fear Among Hill Staff

Dec. 2, 2015

The budget brinksmanship is over. At least so say big majorities of both Democratic and Republican congressional aides surveyed in late November by CQ Roll Call.

CQ Roll Call Survey of Hill Staff Finds Deep Skepticism About GOP

Nov. 5, 2015

The Republicans’ House majority, 246 strong, is the biggest the GOP has enjoyed since 1929. But House Republican aides stand apart from their counterparts in the Democratic party and in the Senate in their skepticism about party leaders, a new CQ Roll Call survey of Hill staff members shows.

CQ Roll Call Survey Finds House GOP Staff Deeply Skeptical of Own Leadership

Nov. 5, 2015

The Republicans’ House majority, 246 strong, is the biggest the GOP has enjoyed since 1929. But House Republican aides stand apart from their counterparts in the Democratic Party and in the Senate in their skepticism about party leaders, a new CQ Roll Call survey of Hill staff members shows.

Why Going Slow Shapes Ryan's Political Future

Oct. 21, 2015

Never in modern history has an heir to the speakership showed as much reluctance as Paul D. Ryan, who has already had nearly two weeks to ponder whether to pursue the job and even more time if he takes until Friday to decide. That’s the self-imposed deadline the Wisconsin Republican set at a meeting with the House GOP conference Tuesday night.

Did Paul Ryan Miss His Window?

Oct. 20, 2015

Paul D. Ryan had a chance to unite the House Republican Conference. Now it may be gone.

Tech Policy Inertia Plagues Congress

Sept. 15, 2015

Congress is more polarized than ever and the typical differences that separate Republicans from Democrats are playing a role in Congress’s tech policy inertia.

Congress Fails to Keep Up With Rapid Technology Advances

Sept. 15, 2015

After the Office of Personnel Management announced in July that hackers had accessed the personal information about more than 21 million Americans who’d applied for government security clearances or served as references, it gave a boost to long-stalled Senate legislation that aims to do something about cybersecurity.

Future of Tele-Town Halls Unclear to Lawmakers

July 29, 2015

The Federal Communications Commission was in damage control mode on Wednesday, trying to ratchet back comments made by the agency's chairman, Tom Wheeler, in testimony to a House Energy and Commerce panel earlier this week.

Tele-Town Halls Effectively Blocked for Politicians

July 28, 2015

The Federal Communications Commission has effectively banned the tele-town hall, a common method of reaching out to constituents that members of Congress have used for years, the agency's chairman, Tom Wheeler, told the House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee on Tuesday.

Despite Massive OPM Hack, Congress Continues to Stall on Data Breach Bill

July 22, 2015

Less than a month ago, the White House Office of Personnel Management revealed hackers had stolen the personal information of about 22 million federal workers and others. It was devastating news, but not surprising given the string of data breaches at companies and government agencies in recent months.

No Federal Standards on Consumer Data Protection

July 22, 2015

The data breach issue isn’t new to Congress. Back in 2009, the House passed legislation to task the Federal Trade Commission with writing rules governing how companies protect customer data in their possession.

Congress Struggles to Respond to Hacking Attacks

July 13, 2015

A major reason why it will be difficult for law enforcement agents to convince Congress technology firms should weaken their encryption is that encryption is the key to stopping hackers.

Unbreakable Encryption Poses Big Problems for Law Enforcement

July 13, 2015

Among the revelations of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden two years ago was that the NSA, the Defense Department’s intelligence arm, was surreptitiously tapping into the data centers of major tech companies and snooping on customer emails. It outraged the firms, Google among them, prompting upgrades to their security by encrypting more data.

NSA Track Record Prompts Senate Skepticism

June 8, 2015

Senators brushed off Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s concerns about the viability of requiring the National Security Agency to go to the phone companies to get records in terrorism investigations and easily passed the USA Freedom Act last week.

NSA Law Now Faces Test: Will It Really Work?

June 8, 2015

A crucial moment in the debate this past month over the National Security Agency’s access to Americans’ phone records in terrorism investigations came on May 20, two days before Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to squelch House legislation that would restrict that access.

McConnell Defeated With Passage of the USA Freedom Act

June 2, 2015

Handing Mitch McConnell his biggest legislative defeat since he became majority leader this year, senators voted down all of the Kentuckian’s amendments to Patriot Act reauthorization legislation.

McConnell Agrees to Senate Vote on Surveillance Overhaul

May 19, 2015

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that he would permit a vote on House-passed legislation to restrict the National Security Agency's authority to review data about Americans' phone calls.

"I certainly think we ought to allow a vote on the House-passed bill," said McConnell, R-Ky. "If there aren't enough votes to pass that, we need to look at an alternative."

The House passed the bill, known as the USA Freedom Act, last week by a vote of 338-88, putting considerable pressure on McConnell to allow a vote on the Senate companion by Republican Mike Lee of Utah. It would reauthorize section 215 of the 2001 Patriot Act, the provision that undergirds the NSA program, but set new limits on it.

McConnell opposes the House bill because it would bar the NSA from continuing its current practice of collecting records of all Americans' phone calls in its own database.

Dotcom Act Would Require Deal Review

May 18, 2015

House Republicans are pushing legislation, known as the Dotcom Act, that aims to give Congress a say in the terms of the handover of the Internet’s address system to international stakeholders.

GOP Wants Review of Internet Governance Handover

May 18, 2015

The Obama administration’s plan to relinquish U.S. control of the Internet’s architecture to a group of international stakeholders isn’t going over well on Capitol Hill.

Sharing Threat Intel Is Voluntary in New Bills

April 27, 2015

Neither cybersecurity bill passed by the House last week would require that companies share information about cyber-threats. It’s voluntary.

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