Senator Orrin Hatch, a Republican from Utah, listens to testimony during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013. (Pete Marovich/Bloomberg)

The collapse of Rep. Aaron Schock's (R-Ill.) brief career in Congress prompted a perhaps-expected question. Since arriving on Capitol Hill, how effective had he been?

There are a number of ways to evaluate this, from his fundraising prowess (high) to his ability to steer his caucus (low). One of the most tangible metrics is how many bills he sponsored that turned into laws. The answer to that? Zero.

That's not entirely uncommon. Many members of Congress have no sponsored bills that have become law; many have only one or two. Sponsorship isn't everything, mind you. Members of the House and Senate can also co-sponsor legislation, which is used as a means of building support before passage. But sponsoring bills that become law is a standard metric of legislative success. A metric by which Schock didn't fare well.

Some of his colleagues have had much better luck. Since 1973, the first year for which data on sponsorship is available through GovTrack, no member of Congress has seen more sponsored bills become law (through signature or overturned vetoes) than Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).

Many of the members who are still in Congress with the most sponsored laws are ones that have been around for a while. That makes sense for two reasons. First, they have obviously had more sessions in which to introduce bills. And, second, Congress has been passing fewer bills of late, giving newer members fewer opportunities for success.

You can see that latter trend in the charts below, which show the sponsored bills that became law in each year for the ten most successful legislators since 1973. Notice that many of them are heavier on the left end -- that is, the earlier part -- of the graph.


Bills sponsored:112. Rank: 1


Bills sponsored:105. Rank: 2


Bills sponsored:90. Rank: 3


Bills sponsored:79. Rank: 4


Bills sponsored:77. Rank: 5


Bills sponsored:73. Rank: 6 (tie)


Bills sponsored:73. Rank: 6 (tie)


Bills sponsored:73. Rank: 6 (tie)


Bills sponsored:72. Rank: 9


Bills sponsored:67. Rank: 10

Again, sponsored bills are not necessarily tightly linked to political success. Near the bottom of the long list of those who've seen sponsored legislation become law is a one-time senator from the state of Illinois. Only two laws were sponsored by Barack Obama.

Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) resigned from Congress amid allegations he misused funds. The Washington Post's Ben Terris explains a few things lawmakers might want to avoid if they want to keep their seats. (Julie Percha/The Washington Post)