Civil Beat’s Washington Bureau has been up and running for just over five months now.

Since we set up shop on Capitol Hill, Civil Beat’s goal has to bring readers closer than ever to the action in the nation’s capital, and to explore all of the ways in which business in Washington affects life in Hawaii. We do this by conducting exclusive interviews, digging through public records and covering the events that no other news organizations in Hawaii have access to.

Here is a sampling of the stories that you wouldn’t have found anywhere else that helped begin to shape Civil Beat’s presence in D.C. in recent months.

  • Hawaii Senators Cast Conflicting Votes on Indefinite Detention, Dec. 8, 2011: Hawaii’s senators almost always vote the same way, but they recently found themselves on opposite sides of an imbroglio over how the United States should handle suspected terrorists, including American citizens. At the heart of the issue is the question of whether accusing citizens of being terrorists gives the government the authority to hold them indefinitely without trial.

  • Hawaii Defense Cuts Loom After Super Committee Implodes, Nov. 22, 2011: The Department of Defense has been vocal about how harmful it believes automatic spending cuts scheduled to take effect in 2013 will be. Civil Beat explored the extent to which those cuts will be felt in Hawaii, where the military has an enormous presence.

  • A Day on the Hill: Colleen Hanabusa, Nov. 21, 2011, and A Day on the Hill: Mazie Hirono, Oct. 17, 2011, were the result of a request to each of Hawaii’s congressional delegates to let us spend a day with them.

  • Civil Beat Catches Rail Leaders Trying to Go ‘Deep Undercover’ in Washington, Sept. 8, 2011: Covering Washington isn’t just about keeping tabs on Hawaii’s elected officials on Capitol Hill. We’re also positioned to track the business that local officials do when they visit Washington — even when they don’t want us to.

  • Who Remembers the Hawaiian Renaissance?, Oct. 10, 2011: In Hawaii, we often talk about a “sense of place.” But what about the rest of the world’s sense of Hawaii? Leading academics say that Hawaii is past due for major exhibits on the contemporary sovereignty movement.

  • Ka-ching! Hawaii Got $20B From Feds Last Year, Sept. 28, 2011: For the first time ever, the federal government spent more than $20 billion in Hawaii last year. Civil Beat took a look at where all the money went, and how Hawaii’s total compared to what other states raked in.

  • Hawaii’s Problems Won’t be Fixed by Patent Reform, Sept. 6, 2011: Many in Washington celebrated the America Invents Act as long-awaited patent reform. But Hawaii faces bigger patent-related obstacles that the act alone won’t solve.

  • When Hawaii’s U.S. Senators Don’t Vote the Same Way, August 24, 2011: It’s rare that Sens. Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye cast conflicting votes. Civil Beat found that when they disagree, it’s often about issues that raise fundamental questions about what it means to be an American.

  • When Hawaii’s U.S. Reps Don’t Vote the Same Way, August 22, 2011: On paper, Reps. Colleen Hanabusa and Mazie Hirono share some striking similarities. But the congressional voting record shows that there are key areas in which the congresswomen differ.

  • Defying ‘Political Wisdom,’ Akaka Carries On, August 9, 2011: When Civil Beat read characterizations in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser of Hawaii’s then-86-year-old senator as too old “to function,” something didn’t add up. We took a closer, first-hand look at Akaka’s day-to-day life on Capitol Hill. What we found is a reminder that there are few substitutes for boots-on-the-ground reporting.

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