George J. Mitchell

U.S. Senate : Legislative Records, 1977-1994 [ bulk 1980-1994].

500 linear feet.

Catalog Number: M202.6.2

Background Note:
Senator Mitchell retained a staff of legislative aides throughout his career in the Senate from 1980 through 1994. Each legislative aide had one or more areas of expertise. Some worked for Mitchell as staff members on senate committees, the Democratic Policy Committee, or the Majority Leader's office, while others worked directly for his senate office in the Russell Building. Their work was organized following legislative subject areas, such as environmental pollution, and was generated from continuing legislative committee work.

Using background material and discussions with staffers and experts, the legislative aides drafted legislation and devised strategies to support legislation, resolutions, amendments, and other senate floor action. Aides acted as a filter for Mitchell, passing along only information they deemed important enough for Mitchell to take the time to read. Their work ensured that Mitchell was fully informed about the important facts of an issue and was aware of the status of legislation, various senate floor activities, and the plans of other senators, government agencies, the executive branch, and special interest groups. Aides also briefed the senator on the actions and goals of companies, associations, and individuals who were meeting with Mitchell and what they expected to achieve when meeting with him.

Aides wrote memos to Senator Mitchell condensing research into essential points and summarizing political activity on relevant legislation into concise points. The memos often suggested different strategies Mitchell could take. Memos were often handed back to the aide with a short note written by Mitchell directing the preferred course of action. In addition, the aides wrote speeches or statements, often for both sides of an issue. Mitchell worked closely with Democrats and Republicans to produce effective legislation, including Superfund legislation, Clean Air and Clean Water acts, the Affordable Housing act, the Civil Rights bill of 1991, Universal Health Care, and others.

Materials include memos; correspondence; notes; bills; and background information usually made up of press clippings, journal articles, and reports, letters and position papers generated by: the Congressional Research Service; congressional committees; a wide range of federal agencies and institutes; private research organizations, professional associations, special interest groups, and people prominent in their respective fields. Files in this series are generally organized by subject. Within many legislative subseries, files are arranged first by the staffer who created them, then by subject. Aides synthesized the background material into memos which allowed Mitchell to understand quickly the key points of a subject. The research was used to study and develop positions and policies that were either drafted or supported by the senator. Mitchell worked with both Democratic and Republican legislators, including: Senators Byrd, Dole, Cohen, Kennedy, Bentsen, Moynihan, Jeffords, Bradley, Pell, and Rockefeller, plus Representatives Gephardt, Foley, and many others. Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton are also widely represented in the legislative records.

Access Restrictions: None.

George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives · Staff · Hours
Bowdoin College Library, 3000 College Station, Brunswick, Maine 04011-8421 · · (207) 725-3288