Company Uses Technology to Improve Communications Gap between K Street and Capitol Hill

(Bethesda, Md.)  Columbia Books and Information Services (CBIS), publisher of the Almanac of American Politics, Washington Representatives and the Original U.S. Congress Handbook is now in the APP business. CBIS has designed an APP called Rover exclusively for Hill staff and government personnel to connect them with its database of 40,000+ government relations professionals. Until now this service has only been available via paid subscription and the main users are lobbyists, fundraisers and advocacy vendors. So why is CBIS now opening access to this information for government employees? Director of Government Relations Information Matthew Barnes says, “The need has never been greater for clear communication between the Hill and the policy community. A recent study* revealed when Hill Staff need information on an issue they look to federal agencies, CRS and social media. Some of the best policy minds in the world are on K Street and the Hill isn’t tapping into them as efficiently as they could be.”

What does Rover do? Rover “fetches” data for government in three areas. As previously stated, users get access to the government relations community via a database of 40,000+ LDA registered lobbyists and other G.R. professionals. APP users can search by the individual’s name, firm, issue area or industry. With just two clicks users can find an expert in tax reform, gun control, health care or any other legislative topic, schedule a call or meeting and add it to their calendar. On the day of the meeting the bio and background of the lobbyist will appear to remind the staffer who he/she is meeting with.

Users also get access to a digital directory of Congressional offices as well as access to a legislative database with bill search capabilities. Additionally, the APP features local happy hours listings and a calendar that will sync to Outlook to keep track of the user’s meetings and events. Future releases will allow the advocacy community to populate the calendar with their fly-ins and other relevant legislative events.

CBIS presented Rover in September to a full room of Hill staff in the Rayburn building and recently hosted several hundred staff at a Rover Holiday Happy Hour featuring local rescue puppies from Lucky Dog Animal Rescue -- the APP's logo is a dog.

For more information on Rover visit

*Congressional Communications Report (



Media Contact:
Matthew Barnes, Director, Government Relations Divison
Columbia Books & Information Services