I knew there were a lot but had no idea it was this many. From Intern Nation, by Ross Perlin, loc 1946:
According to an estimate by Politico and the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, 20,000 interns descend on the capital each summer, approximately 6,000 of them filling Congressional slots—which would come out to over 100 interns for every member of Congress.1 Many thousands more intern in D.C. during the academic year, or soon after graduating from college. In the offices of many members of Congress, think tanks, and nonprofits, interns now outnumber regular staff, at least during the summer.
He makes an intruiging point on loc 1997 about the “creepy sexual dynamic” this gives rise to and its role, under extreme conditions, in giving rise to the Clinton and Lewinsky affair:
In November 1995, with Congress unable to pass a budget and the federal government shut down, the White House began using its unpaid interns “to fill in the gaps left by senior staff who were forced to go home,” according to Andrew Morton, Monica Lewinsky’s biographer. “It was a highly unusual—indeed extraordinary—state of affairs, whereby a junior White House employee came to be closely involved with the movers and shakers of the nation, working from early morning until very late at night.”2 This was the backdrop, now long since forgotten, against which the Lewinsky-Clinton affair unfolded: many claim that only during this kind of government impasse could an intern, eager to please and available when the regular staff could not work, have gotten close enough to the President to initiate a romantic relationship.