Congressional Liaison, Washington, DC

PEN America
Washington D.C.
PEN America offers competitive compensation and benefits, commensurate with experience.
Sep 28, 2021
Nov 02, 2021
Full Time

PEN America, a nonprofit organization that stands at the intersection of literature and human rights, seeks a dynamic, experienced, and highly organized congressional liaison for our Washington, D.C. office. This is a full-time position reporting to the director of PEN America’s Washington office and operating as part of the Free Expression Programs team.

The congressional liaison will bring robust knowledge of Congress and the legislative process, significant advocacy experience, a formidable work ethic, and affinity for fast-paced environments to the role, which will involve developing advocacy strategies and engaging with the legislative branch on a range of critical and urgent free expression issues. PEN America is headquartered in New York, and our Washington, D.C. office carries forward the organization’s mission by engaging with Congress, executive branch agencies and departments, think tanks, counterpart civil society organizations, and the media. The Washington office advocates on a variety of U.S. and international free expression issues, including press freedom; the local news industry crisis; protest rights; disinformation; digital freedom and tech policy; and cases of individual writers, artists, and intellectuals under threat in countries including Saudi Arabia, Russia, China, Myanmar, and Iran, among others.

The successful candidate will have a wide-ranging network on the Hill; legislative drafting expertise; experience preparing principals for high-level meetings, testimony, and other engagements; and demonstrated ability to effectively strategize and multitask in a fast-paced environment. The position requires a passion for PEN America’s mission and work safeguarding free expression. Candidates should be able to demonstrate initiative and the ability to work independently, and should possess excellent interpersonal and communication skills. The congressional liaison is a new position for PEN America and offers the opportunity to engage in meaningful and varied work on a range of free expression and human rights issues in the United States and globally, building a portfolio of achievements as part of a dynamic, growing team.


  • Strengthen PEN America’s strategy for advancing its legislative priorities
  • Engage directly with members of Congress and their staffs
  • Inform, research, and/or draft legislation on priority issues
  • Maintain a broad understanding of free expression issues globally and develop engagement strategies for PEN America’s policy positions
  • Coordinate with the broader initiatives of the Free Expression Programs team and the Washington office, including engaging with executive branch departments and agencies, litigation, advocacy campaigns; and producing research reports and briefing papers
  • Contribute to media communications, public events, and other outreach initiatives
  • Develop and advance strategic alliances with counterpart organizations
  • Create briefing materials, testimony, and talking points
  • Collaborate with the PEN Across America initiative to mobilize PEN America Member support nationwide for legislative priorities
  • Other responsibilities as assigned


  • At least four years of relevant experience working directly with Congress
  • Strong interest in free expression issues in the U.S. and internationally
  • Expansive, active network on the Hill
  • Excellent research, writing, and virtual and in-person communication skills
  • Robust understanding of the legislative process and experience in legislative drafting

Salary and Benefits: PEN America offers competitive compensation and benefits, commensurate with experience.


Please submit a cover letter, resume, unedited writing sample, and the contact information for three references. Please submit the entire application to Please use “Congressional Liaison” and your name as the subject of your email (for example, “Congressional Liaison – Jane Doe”). Only complete applications will be reviewed, and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

PEN America is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate in its hiring practices, and in order to build the strongest possible workforce, actively seeks a diverse applicant pool.

No phone calls, please.


PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

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