Tim LaPira's photograph

Tim LaPira

External Scholar

Tim LaPira, Ph.D., Rutgers University, is Professor of Political Science and the Founding Director of the Political Reform and Innovation Lab (APRILab) at James Madison University (JMU) in Virginia. He is an expert on Congress and its staff, interest groups and the lobbying profession, and political elite behavior.

LaPira also serves as the Co-Editor in Chief of Interest Groups & Advocacy, the official scholarly journal of the American Political Science Association (APSA) Organized Section on Political Organizations and Parties. He currently holds external affiliations with the University of Virginia/Vanderbilt University Center for Effective Lawmaking and the Sunwater Institute Program on Congressional Reform. In 2019, he was selected to be the first APSA Public Service Fellow to serve as expert staff at the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress.

His books include Revolving Door Lobbying: Public Service, Private Influence, and the Unequal Representation of Interests (University Press of Kansas, 2017) and Congress Overwhelmed: The Decline of Congressional Capacity and Prospects for Reform (University of Chicago Press, 2020). LaPira has published articles in the American Journal of Political Science, Political Research Quarterly, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Policy Studies Journal, and other peer-reviewed outlets. His research has been generously supported by the National Science Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, Democracy Fund, Tides Advocacy, the Sunlight Foundation, the Dirksen Congressional Center, the Carrie Chapman Catt Center, and others.

He was recognized by faculty colleagues with the 2022 JMU College of Arts and Letters Madison Scholar Award for outstanding scholarly achievements. The following year, he was selected as a JMU Foundation Madison Trust Awardee for his APRILab project to promote social scientific, evidence-based solutions to America’s most pressing democratic challenges. He worked on Capitol Hill and at OpenSecrets, where he created the Lobbying and Revolving Door databases for public consumption and research.