The more you get money from big businesses, the worse you do at guessing what the public wants. And the more you get money from membership-based groups, the better you do at guessing what the public wants. But the reality is that there's a lot less money coming from membership-based organizations than from corporate groups. So it's not surprising that overall those staffers are doing a bad job - they're hearing from businesses more, they're getting money from corporations more, and that seems to be influencing what they think the public wants across a range of issues.
Political scientist Leah Stokes examines the wide ideological gap between Congress and US citizens - as elected representatives and their staffers substitute corporate lobbying and their own beliefs for the values of their constituencies across a wide range of issues, policies are pushed rightward and away from popular solutions to pressing issues.
Leah is co-author of the paper Legislative Staff and Representation in Congress in the American Political Science Review.