Congressional Member Organizations: Their Purpose and Activities, History, and Formation [February 10, 2015] [open pdf - 428KB]
"This report examines the historical development and contemporary role of congressional Member organizations (CMOs) in the House and informal Member groups in both the House and the Senate. It discusses the differences between CMOs (which register with the Committee on House Administration) and informal Member groups (which do not register with the Committee on House Administration) and the reasons Members form these groups (often referred to as caucuses). The report also presents the rise and fall of legislative service organizations (LSOs), the House's decision in 1995 to issue regulations for establishing CMOs and governing their behavior, and the subsequent regulation of CMOs in the House by the Committee on House Oversight/Committee on House Administration. It provides a step-by-step guide for House Members and staff who might be interested in forming a CMO. Many of the steps in the guide may be of interest to Senators and their staff who are considering forming an informal Member group in the Senate. […] There are seven types of CMOs: (1) intraparty CMOs promote the policy views of like-minded Members within a political party; (2) personal interest CMOs (the most prevalent type) typically focus on a broad, single concern, such as the environment or children, that is often under the jurisdiction of more than one committee; (3) industry CMOs advocate the interests of a particular industry; (4) regional CMOs champion the interests of a particular region; (5) state/district CMOs advocate the interests of a particular state or district; (6) national constituency CMOs advocate the interests of particular constituencies, such as women, minorities, and veterans; and (7) diplomacy CMOs concern themselves with improving foreign relations with another country or region of the world."
CRS Report for Congress, R40683