Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 29, 2015

Posts in "Ethics"

November 19, 2015

Ethics Committee Defers to DOJ on Pittenger Probe

UNITED STATES - MAY 20: Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C,, leaves the House Republican Conference meeting at the Capitol Hill Club on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Pittenger is under a cloud related to possible ethics violations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 5:43 p.m. | The House Ethics Committee voted Wednesday to establish an investigative subcommittee to look into allegations that Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., “received compensation for his involvement with a fiduciary business, a real estate investment firm known as Pittenger Land Investments, Inc.” But, at the request of the Justice Department, the committee has recommended the subcommittee defer its investigation. Full story

November 18, 2015

Farenthold Sexual Harassment Case Is Settled Out of Court

UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 27: Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, leaves a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol, October 27, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Farenthold and Greene have settled their case out of court. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The sexual harassment case against Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, halted Wednesday because an agreement was reached by the two parties.

The details of the resolution that led to the parties’ suggestion the case be dismissed, which was first reported by the National Law Journal, are unclear. The lawyer for Lauren Greene, the former staffer who alleged harassment and discrimination, and Farenthold’s office, did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday night. Full story

By Bridget Bowman Posted at 7:30 p.m.

October 7, 2015

Grayson Files Benghazi Ethics Complaint Against McCarthy, Gowdy (Updated)

Updated 9:31 a.m. | Florida Democrat Alan Grayson filed an ethics complaint Wednesday against House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., alleging they violated federal law and House rules by using official funds appropriated to the Benghazi Committee to pay political or campaign-related expenses.

“This represents the new McCarthyism — the misuse of [official] funds for political purposes to vilify a political opponent,” Grayson told CQ Roll Call. He said the House Select Committee on Benghazi, chaired by Gowdy, is an “effort to embarrass” Democratic presidential contender Hillary Rodham Clinton. Full story

August 20, 2015

Congress’ Squishy Financial Disclosure Deadline

UNITED STATES - JULY 24: Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, heads to the House floor for a vote on Thursday, July 24, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McCaul, one of Congress’ wealthiest members, has yet to file a 2014 disclosure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A week after Congress’ Aug. 13 deadline for members filing financial disclosures — a deadline already extended 90 days from May 15 — there are still almost a dozen members who have not turned in their forms.

But fear not, those who might be inclined to worry about the difficulties and demands of congressional life. According to financial disclosure rules — confirmed by a House Ethics Committee aide on Wednesday — members get an additional 30-day grace period before they are penalized. Full story

July 30, 2015

Fattah Steps Aside at Congressional Black Caucus Foundation

New Fork Headline: UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 14: Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., speaks during the news conference to announce the design for the Space Launch System, NASA's next-generation rocket,  on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011. (Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Fattah, D-Pa., steps down from leadership role at CBC Foundation after indictment. (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Rep. Chaka Fattah has stepped aside from his chairmanship of the board of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

The Pennsylvania Democrat’s exit from the prominent spot with the education and policy nonprofit closely linked to the Congressional Black Caucus on Capitol Hill comes less than 24 hours after Fattah was charged in a 29-count indictment. Full story

July 29, 2015

Fattah Says He’s Innocent, Will Run Despite Indictment (Video)

Fattah, D-Pa., speaks as House Democrats hold a news conference to call for presidential action on immigration on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Chaka Fattah, indicted Wednesday on 29 counts of racketeering conspiracy, bribery and wire fraud as part of an FBI and IRS probe, told reporters at the Capitol he’s innocent and will seek re-election to his Philadelphia seat.

“First of all, it’s a great way to start the August break, and it will keep you all busy, I’m sure. You’ll get to write one more story,” the Pennsylvania Democrat said. “But it’s been an eight year matter, and we’ve moved from an investigation to an actual allegation and I think I’ll stand by my original position which was as an elected official, I’ve never been involved in any illegal activity or misappropriation of funds.”

Full story

June 15, 2015

Hastert Portrait Still Looms In Capitol

Hastert, center, at the unveiling of his portrait. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hastert, center, at the unveiling of his portrait. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The lurid charges levied against J. Dennis Hastert have sent chills through lawmakers who know the former House speaker — but Republican leaders have remained largely silent on what, if anything, Congress should do in response.

After the Illinois Republican was indicted last month and accused of paying hush money to keep secret allegations he molested male students when he was a high school teacher, Hastert’s alma mater, Wheaton College, took his name off the school’s center on economics and public policy. On Capitol Hill, members are being asked whether his official portrait should be removed from its place of prominence in the wall of the Speaker’s Lobby.

Full story

May 18, 2015

Amid Calls for Resignation, Guinta Refuses to Answer Questions (Audio)

Guinta, R-N.H., arrives outside of the Capitol Hill Hotel during check-in for incoming freshmen members of Congress, November 12, 2014. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Guinta isn’t backing down. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

There are plenty of questions surrounding Rep. Frank Guinta’s agreement to repay more than $350,000 in improper campaign contributions, but the embattled New Hampshire Republican isn’t answering any of them — at least not meaningfully.

CQ Roll Call caught up with Guinta Monday evening as he walked to House votes. And despite a number of lingering issues associated with his alleged violation of Federal Election Commission rules in 2009 and 2010 — Was the money he loaned to his campaign, as he still contends, actually his? If so, what is Guinta apologizing for? — the New Hampshire Republican would not go off-script when asked about his agreement to pay a $15,000 penalty to the FEC and repay $355,000 to his parents, who gave him $381,000 in 10 checks between June 2009 and September 2010.

Full story

April 1, 2015

Immigration Advocates Rush to Menendez’s Defense

Bob Menendez

Fellow immigration overhaul advocates remain behind Menendez. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Two longtime allies released statements of support within minutes of the announcement of New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez’s 14-count federal indictment Wednesday.

Illinois Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez, a fellow Democrat, and America’s Voice Executive Director Frank Sharry both praised the Garden State senator’s character and his work on issues important to the immigrant community. Full story

March 19, 2015

Boehner, Pelosi Downplay Schock, Weigh In on Clinton

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House’s top Republican and Democrat addressed Hillary Rodham Clinton’s email scandal and Aaron Schock’s surprise resignation during their weekly news conferences Thursday.

Both seemed more concerned about the former Cabinet secretary’s struggle to justify her home-brew approach to handling official email during and after her tenure at the State Department than with the ethical lapses that led to Schock’s decision earlier this week to announce his resignation. Full story

December 30, 2014

Kevin McCarthy, Ben Ray Luján Among Capitol Hill’s Big Winners in 2014

 House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., participates in the press conference announcing House GOP leadership for upcoming session of Congress on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McCarthy was one of 2014’s big winners. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Not every member of Congress had an A+ year.

Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., became the first majority leader in decades to go down in a primary; Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., only barely avoided being explicitly implicated for campaign finance fraud.

Full story

Boehner Commends Grimm for Announcing Resignation (Updated)

Grimm's resignation to become effective Jan. 5. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Grimm’s resignation to become effective Jan. 5. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:21 p.m. | Rep. Michael G. Grimm’s quiet announcement late Monday night that he would resign his congressional seat pleased House GOP leadership.

The New York Republican, who pleaded guilty to tax evasion last week, made an “honorable decision,” House Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a brief, two-sentence statement Tuesday morning.

“I know it was made with the best interests of his constituents and the institution in mind, and I appreciate his years of service in the House,” Boehner stated, responding to Grimm’s announcement that he would step down from Congress, effective Jan. 5 — one day before the 114th Congress is scheduled to commence.

Under the terms of a plea agreement, Grimm is set to be sentenced by a federal judge on June 8 for causing the filing of a false and fraudulent tax return. He pleaded guilty on Dec. 23 to the one charge of a 20-count indictment, and said, at the time, he would not step down.

Despite the vow, Democratic insiders had been urging former Rep. Michael E. McMahon, D-N.Y., to consider running for the seat. McMahon confirmed to CQ Roll Call last week that he was not ruling out a bid.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will determine the date of the special election to fill Grimm’s seat. According to the NYS Board of Elections, Cuomo can set the special election for any time. However, the election must take place within 70-80 days of when Cuomo issues a proclamation announcing a special election date.

In a statement released by his office, Grimm said he was making the decision to step down after “much thought and prayer.”

“This decision is made with a heavy heart, as I have enjoyed a very special relationship and closeness with my constituents, whom I care about deeply,” he said. “The events which led to this day did not break my spirit, nor the will of the voters. However, I do not believe that I can continue to be 100% effective in the next Congress, and therefore, out of respect for the Office and the people I so proudly represent, it is time for me to start the next chapter of my life.”

Grimm also thanked his constituents for their “love and support” over the past few difficult months.

Bridget Bowman contributed to this report. 

This post was updated to clarify the special election process in New York State.


Ex-Congressman Considers Seeking Grimm’s Seat

Rep. Michael Grimm Pleads Guilty to Tax Evasion (Updated)

Pelosi: Boehner Has to Oust Michael Grimm (Updated)

The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

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By Hannah Hess Posted at 10:47 a.m.
Ethics, John Boehner

December 29, 2014

Report: Michael Grimm Could Resign This Week (Updated)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 10:46 p.m. | Rep. Michael G. Grimm intends to resign from the House after pleading guilty to tax evasion, according to local media reports.

The New York Republican’s decision to step down, first reported by the New York Daily News, would be a reversal of his pledge last week to remain in office despite pleading guilty to a felony charge for which he could face time in prison.

Late Monday evening, a senior House GOP aide familiar with conversations told CQ Roll Call that Grimm plans to leave office before the start of the 114th Congress, which is scheduled to commence on Jan. 6.

Full story

December 23, 2014

Rep. Michael Grimm Pleads Guilty to Tax Evasion (Updated)

UNITED STATES - JULY 11: Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., walks to the Capitol for a vote on Friday, July 11, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Grimm said he won’t step down, despite pleading guilty to a felony tax evasion charge Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 2:21 p.m. | NEW YORK — Rep. Michael G. Grimm said he won’t step down, despite pleading guilty Tuesday to one of the 20 felony tax fraud charges he’s been battling since April — immediately raising questions about whether the New York Republican will be forced to resign his seat in Congress.

A two-term lawmaker who won re-election in November by steadfastly maintaining his innocence, Grimm entered a Brooklyn courthouse on Tuesday afternoon and admitted to tax evasion in connection to the health food restaurant he owned and operated prior to serving in Congress. Full story

November 17, 2014

Saying Farewell to Retiring Obscure Caucus Members

Pastor, seen here in 2008 with then-Rep. Ben Chandler, was always a behind-the-scenes kind of guy.

Pastor, left, seen here in 2008 with then-Rep. Ben Chandler, is a member of the Obscure Caucus because he’s always been a behind-the-scenes kind of guy. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

At least two lawmakers are disappearing from the CQ Roll Call Obscure Caucus after the 113th Congress wraps at the end of this year — and you may not have noticed them at all.

Both are men who have mostly dodged the spotlight, assuming a low-key approach to their terms in federal office that favors building their reputations at work with their colleagues, little or no tweeting and distance from cable-news pundits.

As our team noted when last publishing this list, inclusion in the caucus isn’t meant as mockery or criticism. Members tend to climb the ranks while putting their heads down and focusing on parochial concerns or constituent services. Just because they’re not inclined to grab C-SPAN cameras and wink to fans back home after wins on the House floor like an overzealous soccer star doesn’t mean they haven’t made an impact.

To be considered, lawmakers must have served at least two full terms and have kept the self-promotion to a minimum. Senators aren’t included.

These are the Obscure Caucus veterans who are retiring.

Full story

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