The websites for members of Congress all look a little different.
U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet has a rushing mountain stream video filling the screen.
U.S. Rep. Ken Buck’s site features a roster of stock photos with a giant red button advertising “Help with a Federal Agency.”
But Boulder County’s congressman, Joe Neguse, has a unique display front and center on his official portal.
“292,439 dollars returned to constituents,” a banner reads as of Thursday.
“301 constituent casework.” “24 town halls hosted.” “50,115 responses to letters, e-mails and calls.”
The number of town hall meetings and responses to e-mails seem relatively easy to quantify. But “dollars returned to constituents"? What does that mean?
“Dollars returned to constituents is through cases that our office has processed and closed,” said Sally Tucker, Neguse’s communications director. “For example, our office may contact a federal agency to help a constituent receive social security benefits or VA benefits that were being held up.”
Neguse, who has been in office since January, highlighted one story on the website that resulted in dollars returned.
A couple had $4,000 stolen from their bank account and went to the Social Security Administration to have payments sent to a different account. When the agency was unable to do so, Neguse’s office intervened and the payments resumed to the victims, according to the website.
Former U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman of Indiana distributed a casework manual in his office that outlines the procedures for getting people what they needed.
"The caseworker should not try to judge the validity of a constituent’s claim," it reads. "There will be times when you will know that the constituent’s case is hopeless. However, your job is to allow those most qualified to make that determination."
The manual adds: "Don’t give false hope. Tell it like it is."
Among the 50,000 replies to constituents, Tucker said that the most prevalent topics are impeachment, congressional oversight, environmental protection, public lands, health care and animal welfare.