New E-mail System Helps Congress Sort Messages

The system will help determine if messages are part of a grass-roots campaign.

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By Nikki Schwab, Washington Whispers

A congressional E-mail system slated for implementation next year has Capitol Hill aides drooling. The setup will help offices better sort messages to determine if they are part of grass-roots campaigns, a benefit to aides trying to figure out if a writer is part of a broader lobbying effort. "Their mouths start watering, and they say, 'Tell me when,'" says Tim Hysom of the Congressional Management Foundation, the organization leading the charge. With most communications to members of Congress arriving electronically, it's a big deal. "What we are really trying to do is develop a set of standards that would then allow staff to spend less of their time administering the mail and more of their time communicating," explains Hysom.

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