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Donald Wolfensberger

Congressional Scholar


January 1, 2009 — May 31, 2024

Professional affiliation

Former Director, the Congress Project, Wilson Center; Former Staff Director, House Rules Committee
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U.S. Congress

Wilson Center Projects

“To Restore Trust in Congress”

Full Biography

Donald R. Wolfensberger is a Congress Scholar at the Wilson Center and previously directed its Congress Project from 1999-2012. He is author of “Congress and the People: Deliberative Democracy on Trial” (2000) and “Changing Cultures in Congress: From Fair Play to Power Plays” (2018). He previously served as a staff member in the U.S. House of Representatives (1969-1997), rising to the position of chief-of-staff of the House Rules Committee. He earned a B.A. in English at North Central College (1964) and successfully completed course work toward an M.A. in political science at the University of Iowa (1966). He served two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tanzania East Africa (1967-68).

Major Publications

  • "Congress and Policymaking in an Age of Terrorism," in Congress Reconsidered, 8th ed., ed. Oppenheimer and Dodd (CQ Press, 2005)
  • Democracy and the Internet, co-editor (Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2002)
  • Congress and the People: Deliberative Democracy on Trial, (Woodrow Wilson Center Press and Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000)
  • Author of essays on the "Rules Committee" and "Special Rules" in the Encyclopedia of the United States Congress, Simon and Schuster, 1995