Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 22, 2014

Posts by Jason Dick

3 Posts

July 30, 2014

Bill Foster, Congress’ Science Guy

foster010 050614 445x296 Bill Foster, Congress Science Guy

Foster in his Longworth office on Capitol Hill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Not everyone gets cards from Fermilab.

Democrat Bill Foster’s Longworth office is a modest one, its small waiting area festooned with the requisite Lincolnia befitting a House member from Illinois.

Amid the Land of Lincoln regalia is a more personal effect of the man who represents the 11th District, offering a hint of his role as Congress’ science guy. Displayed on the shelves are greetings and salutations from his friends at Fermilab, the national laboratory where Foster helped hunt down the top quark and pursue other experimental physics for nearly a quarter century. The snow-scaped image of Fermilab’s upside-down-Y-shaped Wilson Hall helps define who Foster is: a man whose scientific acumen has informed his life as an entrepreneur, physicist and public servant.

Foster has been proudly flying the science flag in the halls of Congress. On the floor, he’s gleefully pushed for the House’s science measures, even working in references to Star Wars.

In June he hobnobbed with Bill Nye the Science Guy at the White House Maker Faire, a kind of summit to push innovative entrepreneurship.

This is a man who seems comfortable verging into science geekiness.

Full story

By Jason Dick Posted at 5 a.m.

June 10, 2014

Eric Cantor: A Brief Biography

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his primary Tuesday night in an upset that stunned Capitol Hill. College professor David Brat defeated Cantor, 56 percent to 44 percent, according to The Associated Press. Below is more information about the Virginia Republican and his district from his CQ member profile.

Officially, Cantor is the House majority leader. Unofficially, he serves as the GOP leadership team’s bridge to the younger and more conservative segments of the Republican Party. He is a powerful ally (and reputed occasional rival) of Speaker John A. Boehner.

Cantor wears stylish suits and speaks in a Southern drawl. Widely viewed as a speaker-in-waiting, he made clear after tough elections in 2012 that he would not challenge Boehner, calling him a mentor in a “real partnership” that is “focused on trying to deliver results.”

“I stand with Speaker Boehner when he says, ‘Let’s rise above the dysfunction, and do the right thing together for our country,’” he said in November 2012. “Economic growth, entitlement reform and solving our spending crisis are our top priorities.”
Full story

By Jason Dick Posted at 8:40 p.m.
Eric Cantor

October 28, 2013

Ex-Rep. Renzi Sentenced to 3 Years in Prison

Former Republican Rep. Rick Renzi of Arizona was sentenced to three years in prison for a rap sheet of crimes including extortion, bribery, corruption, money laundering, wire fraud, conspiracy and racketeering.

Renzi, first elected in 2002, retired from Congress in 2008 under a cloud of suspicion arising from a land deal in Arizona. In 2002 and 2003, Renzi sold his stake in a real estate investment company in two separate deals to business associate James Sandlin. In 2005, Renzi introduced legislation to swap land owned by Sandlin for federal land. At the prospect of the bill, Sandlin sold the property for a significant profit — another investment group paid Sandlin $4.6 million for the land — while the legislation, which never became law, was under consideration.

According to the federal indictment, Sandlin paid Renzi $733,000 for his services — a sum of money Renzi never reported on his congressional financial disclosures.

On Monday, Sandlin was sentenced to 18 months of jail for his part in the deal.

Renzi was also convicted of insurance fraud for diverting the premiums paid to his insurance firm to fund his first campaign for Congress. Altogether, Renzi was convincted on 17 counts and Sandlin on 13 counts related to fraud.

“Mr. Renzi abused the power — and the corresponding trust — that comes with being a member of Congress by putting his own financial interests over the interests of the citizens he had sworn to serve,” acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman, of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, said in a DOJ statement.

Both men are set to begin their sentences in January.

By Matt Fuller and Jason Dick Posted at 5:21 p.m.

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