Following up on a tip, I called Congressman Cao's Washington office to ask how many open constituent service case files were inherited from Congressman Jefferson's office. I'd been told that it was a comically low single digit number.
I was able to speak to Cao's new Chief of Staff, Clayton Hall.
I asked him to confirm that what I'd heard.
But before he answered that question he described a little bit about how open constituent service cases are supposed to be handed over. It isn't just a manila folders changing hands. Rather, the outgoing staff sends a letter to the relevant constituent to ask whether or not to transfer the open case to the next Congressman's staff. Some say yes and others say no.
After putting me on hold to get the exact number of open cases transferred from Jefferson to Cao he came back with a precise answer:
Jefferson's staff told Cao's staff that they had closed all of their open case files. And I suppose that that's entirely possible.
But it's kind of hard to believe.
Generally, a Congressional office has a hundred or more ongoing constituent service files open at any one time. The 2nd Congressional District, because of all the individual issues people have with different federal agencies, would generally have more open cases than most other districts. New Congressman also receive a high number of inquiries at the beginning of their term. So while it's hard to pinpoint precisely what a "normal" caseload would be for Cao, right now the number of open cases in the hundreds.