One of my internship responsibilities is to sit in on calls and take notes for the team so we have information and action items to work off of following these phone calls with external contacts/stakeholders. I am included in these phone calls because my notes are helpful to the team, but I also have been learning quite a bit from participating in these conversations. And, this has been one of the most valuable parts of my internship, because it has really helped me understand how different components of politics/campaign related businesses and organizations work and fit together.
Recently I have been learning about campaign finance for a project that I am working on. When talking to an individual that works in that campaign industry, they talked about how the filing forms that campaigns and committees have to fill out are set up so the data pooled altogether is quite disorganized. This is because there is a lack of consistency in how the forms are filled out, mainly because the categories in the forms are vague and different line-items can fall into various categories. Other than this information being new to me and interesting to learn, this conversation got me thinking about the role of policy in shaping campaigns, and how clear policy, or lack thereof, could lead to an agency that is not nearly as effective as it could be.
I spent last summer working for the US Government in DC, and while I learned an incredible amount about how the government functions on a daily basis, I am finding that by stepping back and into the private sector I can see how the policy decisions made inside of the government impact the way that campaigns are run, the way that accurate public information is available to the public, and ultimately how we as citizens are informed about who holds influence in our government. I am very grateful to have the opportunity to step back and be able to see a new angle on how policy and all of our institutions are so interwoven.
This blog post is titled “Learning” because that is the best way to sum up this internship. Instances like the one outlined in this post are a regular occurrence, and have left me with a greater depth in understanding. I have three weeks left, and I am looking forward to learning much more in the final weeks.