Date of Award

Spring 2007

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Daniel Palazzolo

Second Advisor

Dr. Girard Gilfoyle

Third Advisor

Dr. Peter Smallwood


In 2001, President George W. Bush remarked, "Science and technology have never been more essential to the defense of the nation and the health of the economy." The responsibility for formulating science and technology policy primarily falls into the hands of Congress. However, since few members of Congress possess a broad base of knowledge in either science or technology, they must rely on external sources of information. I examine the sources of information on which they rely, or the question "Who has the Congressional Ear?"with regard to science and technology issues. Using the downfall of the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) in 1995 as a point of punctuated equilibrium, according to Frank Baumgartner and Bryan Jones' theoretical framework for political change, I examine the issues of NASA authorizations, hazardous waste (superfund), and global warming, before and after OTA, looking at the sources of information in congressional hearings on these particular issues. I found that the degree of politicization varied, depending on the issue in question. The politicization was greatest in the issue of global warming. Overall, there was a decrease in the number of witnesses per issue and an increase in the number of witnesses with a Republican affiliation.