Timothy M. LaPira, PhD

Associate Professor of Political Science at James Madison University
Faculty Affiliate at the Center for Effective Lawmaking at the University of Virginia

Tim LaPira (Ph.D., Rutgers University) is associate professor of political science at James Madison University in Virginia and faculty affiliate at the Center for Effective Lawmaking at the University of Virginia. His expertise is on Congress, interest groups, and lobbying. He is co-author of Revolving Door Lobbying: Public Service, Private Influence, and the Unequal Representation of Interests (University Press of Kansas, 2017) and co-editor of Congress Overwhelmed: The Decline of Congressional Capacity and Prospects for Reform (University of Chicago Press, forthcoming 2020). He previously worked as a legislative assistant to a member of Congress and as a researcher at the Center for Responsive Politics, where he was responsible for developing the Lobbying and Revolving Door databases on OpenSecrets.org.

Alexander C. Furnas, ABD

Ph.D. Candidate & Gerald R. Ford Fellow
Political Science, University of Michigan

Alexander (Zander) Furnas is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at the University of Michigan in American Politics (major subfield) and Quantitative Methods (minor Subfield). He specializes in the role of information and expertise in the United States Congress. His dissertation examines the conditions under which Congress uses privately provisioned information produced by outside organizations in the policymaking process. He is a co-principal investigator of both the 2017 and 2019 Congressional Capacity Surveys. More generally, he studies Congress, interest groups, policy making and elite political behavior using survey, text analysis and network methods.

Shelby Taraba

Research Assistant

In the 2018-19 academic year, she was the Engagement Fellow for the James Madison Center for Civic Engagement. Shelby received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from James Madison University. During her undergraduate career, Shelby was an employee of the John C. Wells Planetarium, served as Astronomy Club President, and worked closely with her professors in projects related to civic engagement and political science research.