ALEXANDRIA, Va.--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--When Governor Mitch Daniels (Indiana) compared testifying before Congress to getting a root canal, he was being polite. Sitting vulnerably at a witness table under hot television lights while members of the House or Senate stare down at you from above is not just intimidating; it can wreck your career, your company, and your credibility if you say the wrong thing. And the right and wrong things to say differ according to the interrogator's party and agenda.
Committee members can have such strong partisan views and positions on an issue, legislative measure, nominee, or agency action under review that they focus only on their own agenda and may have minimal interest in other information, however valuable it might be, that emanates from a hearing. On occasion a particularly controversial or sensitive issue that is fraught with partisanship can even dominate a hearing to the extent that the hearing’s or committee’s original purpose is lost in the partisan rhetoric.
Those preparing testimony and witnesses for congressional hearings should conduct a political analysis of the relevant issues, committee, timing, and other related circumstances to ensure a thorough understanding of the political landscape and the potential opportunity for, and role of, partisanship in the hearing process. (p. 17)
To navigate safely through this abyss, you need a Sherpa who can prepare you ahead. And that Sherpa is William N. LaForge, author of the comprehensive new guide, Testifying Before Congress: A Practical Guide to Preparing and Delivering Testimony before Congress and Congressional Hearings for Agencies, Associations, Corporations, Military, NGOs, and State and Local Officials (published by TheCapitol.Net, July 2010).
In 400 pages, LaForge prepares potential witnesses for every eventuality, including using actual briefings and rehearsals used by such agencies as USAID, NASA, and the IRS, as well as corporate and NGO examples.
LaForge has a long and distinguished career as a Congressional lobbyist, staff director for the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, staffer for both a Democratic Congressman and a Republican Senator, government relations practice group chair with the Winstead law firm, and government relations professor at George Washington University (expanded bio at www.thecapitol.net/Publications/testifyingbeforecongress.html).
23 endorsers—who include one current and one former governor, a city mayor, corporate CEOs and industry leaders, directors of top law and lobbying organizations, the Chairman of Bank of America, several past and present top government officials and agency directors, a bar association president, law school deans and university leaders, and heads of non-governmental organizations (see all endorsements at www.thecapitol.net/Publications/testifyingbeforecongress.html)— strongly recommend this book for lobbyists, executives, associations, government officials, academics, and virtually anyone who is called to testify before Congress.
TheCapitol.Net is a privately held, non-partisan publishing and training company based in Alexandria, VA. For over 30 years, TheCapitol.Net and its predecessor, Congressional Quarterly Executive Conferences, have been training professionals from government, military, business, and NGOs on the dynamics and operations of the legislative and executive branches and how to work with them.
Journalists: to request interviews with the author, William LaForge, contact him directly: (202) 572-8016, wlaforge -at- winstead.com