Government Affairs Liaison

PEN America, a nonprofit organization that stands at the intersection of literature and human rights, seeks an energetic and highly organized government affairs liaison for our Washington, D.C. office. This is a full-time, in-office position based in Washington, D.C., reporting to the director of PEN America’s Washington office, and operating as part of the Free Expression Programs team. The role requires working in-office at least three days a week, with the ability to be onsite to handle urgent requests.

The government affairs liaison will bring robust research and writing skills, keen interest in policy and advocacy, and the ability to grasp complex, nuanced topics with speed. 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, Egypt, Myanmar, and Iran, among others.

The government affairs liaison will provide direct support to the Washington director on a wide range of activities that enable the success of PEN America’s government affairs team. This role involves both critical administrative support and the opportunity to engage in advocacy support, legislative tracking and analysis, and related research. The position requires an energized and highly organized work style, and the ability to work collaboratively on multiple projects simultaneously. The successful candidate will excel at research and writing, have demonstrated success in executing projects from start to finish, and demonstrate aptitude for working with databases. Ability to take initiative, problem-solve, and work independently are necessary. The incumbent will also engage in federal legislative tracking, research, and analysis; support the hiring and management of the Washington office fellows and interns; establish and maintain an internal knowledge management and data system; support the planning and execution of events and visiting delegations; and draft advocacy-related materials for use in engagement with USG officials.


Support to the Washington Director and D.C. team:

  • Draft and manage external correspondence and internal and external information requests
  • Calendar management and scheduling of meetings
  • Provide support for planning and execution of virtual and in-person events and visiting delegations as well as internal team-building and DC office-related activities (including making reservations, managing technology, and other logistics)
  • Expense reporting, financial reconciliation, and other budget and recordkeeping tasks
  • Provide research and drafting of content on an as-needed basis for specific requests related to PEN America meetings, events, and external appearances
  • In coordination with the Washington director and senior manager for legislative affairs, attend Congressional briefings, hearings, and other external events and report back on key observations and contacts made
  • Serve as the primary point of contact for federal legislative tracking, research, and analysis in support of the Washington office; track legislation on all issues and regions relevant to PEN America’s mission
  • Research, analyze, and evaluate legislative and regulatory proposals and policies
  • Work cross-functionally within FEP to support the hiring and management of interns
  • Complete other duties as assigned

Editorial, program, and research support for PEN America’s government affairs team:

  • Identify and elevate research, stories, and data from external and internal sources that are relevant and helpful to advancing PEN America’s work—either for use in materials (e.g. fact sheets or talking points) or for direct outreach to Congress and Administration officials
  • Contribute to the drafting and review of advocacy materials for internal and external use in front of Members of Congress and Administration officials
  • Maintain a knowledge management and data management infrastructure including systems for tracking work products and legislation, and preservation of key documents
  • Manage and expand a database of key contacts in Washington, D.C. (legislative and executive branch, multilateral organizations, media, and the NGO community)
  • Track and follow committee meetings, hearings, and conferences relevant to PEN America’s legislative and executive branch engagement
  • Research and offer analysis on legislative and regulatory proposals and policies
  • Identify and elevate research, stories, and data from external and internal sources that are helpful to advancing PEN America’s work
  • Fact-check and cite-format testimony, reports, and other written products
  • Draft social media/website copy


  • Exceptional organizational and project management skills and the ability to prioritize multiple tasks
  • Excellent research, writing, analytical, and proofreading skills
  • Ability to communicate effectively with different audiences, internally and externally
  • Demonstrated ability to problem solve and to multitask in a fast-paced environment
    Excellent attention to detail and accuracy
  • Bookkeeping and database management experience a plus
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills; ability to think creatively and collaboratively
  • Formidable work ethic and high energy level
  • Exemplary team player with professional demeanor and ability to work independently
  • Commitment to PEN America’s mission to safeguard free expression in the U.S. and abroad

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


Please submit a cover letter, resume, and the contact information for three references to [email protected]. Please use “Government Affairs Liaison” and your name as the subject of your email (for example, “Government Affairs 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.