Long-time columnist Mike Causey dead at 82

Norman Causey, long time Federal News Network host and columnist who went by Mike, and a fixture in the Washington, D.C. news scene for more than half a century, died Monday. He was 82 years old.

Causey had finished a recording that morning and was shortly thereafter found unresponsive at the desk in his office by a coworker. Efforts by staff members and Montgomery County, Maryland EMTs to revive him were unsuccessful.

“Mike was an...

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Norman Causey, long time Federal News Network host and columnist who went by Mike, and a fixture in the Washington, D.C. news scene for more than half a century, died Monday. He was 82 years old.

Causey had finished a recording that morning and was shortly thereafter found unresponsive at the desk in his office by a coworker. Efforts by staff members and Montgomery County, Maryland EMTs to revive him were unsuccessful.

“Mike was an exceptional journalist and an even more exceptional person,” said Federal News Network and WTOP Vice President and General Manager Joel Oxley. “Mike would’ve wanted to be at his desk when he passed. His combination of talent, quick wit and integrity were unparalleled. He did so much for FNN. He truly put us on the map. He’ll be missed terribly.”

Since joining the station in the early 2000s, Causey wrote and broadcast about matters crucial to the federal workforce. Regular topics included salary and benefits issues, investing, health care and retirement planning. His Federal News Network columns were regularly the most visited stories on the FNN web site.

A native of Indianapolis and an Army veteran, Causey joined the Washington Post as a messenger in 1957, according to a 1998 story about him. From 1972 until the turn of the 21st century, his Federal Diary column was a Sunday-through-Friday, and highly popular, fixture in the Post.

After a stint at a short-lived media startup, Causey joined FNN, then called Federal News Radio 1050 AM. He hosted the daily Federal Drive show along with Jane Norris before devoting full time in 2007 to his Federal Report column and his weekly show, Your Turn.

Causey was a popular figure in the newsroom, who loved to share a funny story or joke, often approaching with a mischievous gleam in his eye. Colleagues appreciated his soft-spokenness and gentle demeanor. “Mike was someone who offered kindness and a warm smile to everyone he encountered,” said federal workforce reporter Drew Friedman.

A peerless reporter, Causey cultivated a large and devoted readership that followed him from medium to medium. He knew nuances of topics such as the best day to retire or the shrewdest Thrift Savings Plan strategy better than anyone. His writing was marked by an easy, accessible, occasionally humorous style undergirded by thorough, factual reporting. Causey is widely acknowledged as having coined the term, “inside the beltway.”

He was also known for an ever-growing pile of printouts, press releases, newspapers, magazines, pamphlets and knick-knacks that practically hid him from view when seated at his desk. At both the Washington Post and Federal News Network, visitors regularly asked to stop by Mike Causey’s office.

“Mike always looked at the story or idea through the lens of the every day man or woman,” said Federal News Network’s executive editor Jason Miller. “I could walk into his office to ask him a question and always leave with a more clear and grounded idea. Words cannot express how much we will miss Mike.”

Survivors include daughters Libby Causey-Hicks of Richmond, Virginia; Jocelyn Causey of Silver Spring, Maryland; and a son Michael Causey of Takoma Park, D.C. His other son, Steven Causey, died in January 2022.

Causey also leaves siblings Judy Callahan, Joe Causey and Steve Causey of Bowling Green, Kentucky; and Russell Causey of St. Louis, Missouri. He also had eight grandchildren: Celia, Caroline, Annie, Jack, Nora, Duncan, Maddie and Tyler.

If you would like to offer any memories or condolences, please feel free to send them to Federal News Network via our comments form. Or, if you’d prefer leave a voice recording, we’ve set up a special line for this purpose. Call us toll-free at (844) 305-1500.