Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 1, 2014

Posts in "Fundraising"

October 22, 2014

Energy and Commerce Rivals Battle to the Wire

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Ranking member rivals Eshoo and Pallone. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Since January, Reps. Frank Pallone Jr. and Anna G. Eshoo have been positioning themselves as the obvious choice to be the top Democrat on the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee.

But after 10 months of cutting checks and courting colleagues, they’re still not finished campaigning to replace the panel’s current ranking member, retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman of California.

Members of the House Democratic Caucus won’t settle the hotly contested race until late-November at the earliest, meaning Pallone of New Jersey and Eshoo of California will have to stay on the offensive, showing they’re both team players and power players who are ready — and able — to help their friends out.

Along the way, they are pulling pages from the same playbook — with a few key exceptions.

Full story

October 15, 2014

Retiring Bachmann Signals She’s Still in the Game

 Retiring Bachmann Signals Shes Still in the Game

Bachmann spoke Wednesday at the Heritage Foundation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Michele Bachmann may be retiring at the end of this year, but the woman who rose to prominence by founding the Congressional Tea Party Caucus in 2010 and running for president in 2012 isn’t leaving Washington, D.C., quietly.

In a speech and brief question-and-answer session Wednesday morning at the Heritage Foundation — billed as one of her last public speaking engagements as a member of the House of Representatives — the Minnesota Republican refreshed her audience on the history of the tea party movement and made a case for continuing the fight against higher taxes and bigger government.

But Bachmann also made a handful of policy recommendations that indicate she plans to remain engaged in the political debate, albeit from outside Capitol Hill.

Full story

October 10, 2014

Where Does Pelosi Play? The Fine Art of Surrogate Campaigning

COPOL14 032 082614 445x288 Where Does Pelosi Play? The Fine Art of Surrogate Campaigning

California’s Becerra, left, campaigns in Colorado with Democratic House candidate Romanoff. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House members who want to help their party in the final stretch of campaign season have options. They can offer endorsements. Make calls. Write checks.

But sometimes, nothing says “I care” like getting on a plane and flying across the country to stand alongside a colleague.

In the month before Election Day, members not fighting for their political lives are expected to be team players — and one way to do that is by traveling to different congressional districts as campaign “surrogates.”

It’s not as simple as just showing up: Being a good surrogate is an art, and considerable thought, time and effort go into deciding who should go where, and when, and in what capacity.

Each member has his or her own edge.

Budget Chairman and 2012 vice presidential nominee Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., will draw a crowd, while Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., can bring in buckets of money (she’s raised more than $400 million for Democrats since 2002). Others can open doors that might otherwise be closed, or help a vulnerable member shore up support among a flagging constituency.

And every ambitious lawmaker on Capitol Hill knows that stumping for a fellow member or potential colleague can pay off down the road.

Full story

September 18, 2014

Party Like it’s 1994: Gingrich, DeLay Reunite With ‘Greatest Class’

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Ginghrich arrives for the reception celebrating the anniversary of the 1994 Contract with America. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

While most of Congress trekked down Pennsylvania Avenue Wednesday night to the annual White House picnic, a select group of current and former members took a trip down Memory Lane instead, converging on the Hill to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the historic House GOP class of 1994. 

A half-dozen lawmakers joined nearly 40 former colleagues, including former speaker Newt Gingrich, inside the National Resources Committee hearing room to reminisce about one of the biggest “wave” elections in congressional history.

In the midterms that year, the party recaptured power in the chamber, with new members having campaigned successfully on what would become the 104th Congress’s defining document: The Contract with America.

“You are going to go down in history … as the greatest freshman class, at least in the last century, to walk into this House of Representatives,” said Tom DeLay of Texas, who in 1995 was the House majority whip before going on to serve as majority leader. “You are people of incredible character and incredible strength and you stood on your principles.” Full story

May 28, 2014

On Immigration, the Pressure Mounts for Eric Cantor

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The pressure is on for Cantor, as political factions from both sides of the aisle clamor for action on immigration. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

RICHMOND, Va. — Political forces from the left and the right gathered at the Virginia state Capitol Wednesday with a shared objective: Ratchet up the immigration pressure on Eric Cantor.

On one side were the pro-immigration activists — led by an Illinois Democrat — calling for the House majority leader to at least allow legislation an up-or-down vote. On the other was a political rival all-too-ready to hang the word “amnesty” around the Virginia Republican’s neck.

In the middle of the debate, walking a political tightrope with less than two weeks to go before a closely-watched primary and as the clock steadily ticks down on the 113th Congress, is Cantor.

“We have come here to say … stop being an obstacle. Stop standing in the way,” said Luis V. Gutiérrez, D-Ill., a leader in the national fight to pass an immigration overhaul bill who was invited to speak at Wednesday’s event by the group CASA de Virginia. “Become a hero of our community and become someone who can help the tens of thousands of Virginians who need help because of this broken immigration system.”

Half an hour earlier, Cantor’s June 10 primary opponent David Brat held a brief outdoor news conference on the steps of the building, where he had a different perspective on Cantor.

“Eric Cantor has been the No. 1 cheerleader in Congress for amnesty,” Brat told a half-dozen reporters. “Eric Cantor has spearheaded the amnesty push in the House. … There is no Republican in this country who is more liberal on immigration than Eric Cantor.”

Conservatives’ biggest turncoat? Immigration’s most stubborn opponent?

It wouldn’t seem Cantor could be both, but the No. 2 Republican in the House has tripped alarms on both sides of the sprawling, complicated and emotional debate in recent weeks. Full story

May 20, 2014

Democrats Still Undecided on Benghazi Committee Participation

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Pelosi is still undecided on whether he caucus will appoint members to the special committee on Benghazi. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats are still weighing whether they will appoint members to the GOP-led special committee to investigate the September 2012 attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya — but don’t call it a caucus-wide “division,” two senior lawmakers implored.

“[It's] the wrong word,” Caucus Vice Chairman Joseph Crowley of New York said at a Tuesday morning news conference. “The caucus is not divided. … What the caucus is doing is helping our leadership come up with a plan on how to approach what is a very serious issue.”

“Democrats’ concern has always been whether this will be a legitimate process, to make a sincere effort to learn something new, or whether it’s really … a campaign cash-raising tool,” added Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra of California. Full story

April 24, 2014

Curt Clawson Would Make 50 Richest in Congress List

Curt Clawson, the self-funding businessman who won Tuesday’s Republican primary scramble to replace former Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla. (cocaine scandal), would be among the richest members of Congress if he wins the GOP-leaning Florida district in the special election June 24.

Clawson is a former college basketball star (during his campaign, he challenged President Barack Obama to a shooting contest) and manufacturing executive who spent most of the last decade running the world’s largest maker of aluminum auto wheels.

He loaned $2.65 million to his own campaign, according to his pre-primary Federal Election Report.

According to financial disclosures, the automotive CEO, who consistently cast himself as the Washington “outsider” during his campaign, has a minimum net worth of more than $13 million, which would place him in the middle of the pack on Roll Call’s most recent “50 Richest” list. Full story

April 21, 2014

Ranking Member Fundraising Battle: Pallone Gets Cash From Tech, Health Care Industries

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(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. received donations from health care groups and technology giants, and gave money to more than a dozen fellow Democrats, including some in vulnerable seats, a new filing for his leadership political action committee shows.

The New Jersey Democrat, vying for the ranking member slot on the Energy and Commerce Committee in a closely-contested race, raised $116,000 for Shore PAC in the month of March. Among the groups giving money were Microsoft, AT&T, Comcast and NBC Universal.

Pallone also racked up cash from health care groups, including the American Medical Association, American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Hospital Association, American Psychiatric Association, American College of Cardiology, American College of Surgeons Professional Association and the American Academy of Neurology.

He spent $49,000, according to the PAC filing.

Members he gave to include Reps. Nick J. Rahall II of West Virginia; Raul Ruiz of California; Kyrsten Sinema, Ann Kirkpatrick and Ron Barber of Arizona; Tim Walz of Minnesota; John Barrow of Georgia; Dan Maffei of New York and Timothy H. Bishop of New York; Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire and Brad Schneider of Illinois, among others.

Pallone’s rival for the panel position to replace retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman, Anna G. Eshoo of California, raised $203,000 over the quarter, a longer filing period, for her leadership PAC. Her donations mostly came from high-tech and telecommunication firms.

Full story

April 16, 2014

Eshoo Raises Money From Tech Industry Ahead of Ranking-Member Battle With Pallone

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Rivals for the ranking member slot, Eshoo and Pallone chatted earlier this month at a news conference. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Anna G. Eshoo’s leadership political action committee raised $203,000 — mostly from high-tech and telecommunication firms — as she bids to be ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. It is the first leadership PAC of the California Democrat’s nearly 22-year congressional career. First-quarter numbers for Eshoo’s main rival for the post, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., were not yet available.

The burgeoning war chest provides leverage for Eshoo in the closely-contested ranking member race to succeed retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., when the new Congress convenes.

Eshoo’s PAC was bolstered by contributions from the PACs of some powerful industry players who could come before the Energy and Commerce Committee, including Time Warner Cable, Comcast and NBC Universal, Google and Microsoft.

Leadership PACS are not just about receiving money, but about being able to spend cash, too, specifically in support of colleagues whose relationships could be professionally beneficial.

In her quarterly report, Eshoo revealed that she made donations to a number of her colleagues, including many in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Frontline program for vulnerable members. Members who received donations from Eshoo’s PAC include Rep. Nick J. Rahall II of West Virginia, John F. Tierney of Massachusetts, Raul Ruiz of California, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Ami Bera of California.

Full story

January 31, 2014

DCCC Says McMorris Rodgers ‘Owes the Nation an Apology for Lying’

465881985 445x293 DCCC Says McMorris Rodgers Owes the Nation an Apology for Lying

(Jim Watson/Getty Images)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is calling on House GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers to apologize for “lying” in her response to the president’s State of the Union address on Thursday night.

But the Washington Republican thinks she has nothing to apologize for.

The DCCC, in a statement on Friday afternoon, took issue with a specific anecdote McMorris Rodgers used in her rebuttal about a certain constituent, “Bette from Spokane.”

McMorris Rodgers described Bette as someone “who hoped the president’s health care law would save her money — but found out instead that her premiums were going up nearly $700 a month.”

Actually, Bette Grenier, 58, was never forced to pay a higher premium, according to an interview with the Spokane Spokesman-Review. In fact, she knew there were other, less-expensive health care options being offered through the exchanges on HealthCare.gov, but she wasn’t interested pursuing them. Full story

Waxman’s Retirement Spurs Race for his Committee Slot and a Slew of Speculation

waxman010914 330x212 Waxmans Retirement Spurs Race for his Committee Slot and a Slew of Speculation

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

At the end of this year, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will lose another close ally — and fellow Californian, no less — in 40-year House veteran Henry A. Waxman.

Sources close to Democratic leadership say they don’t suspect that Waxman’s retirement, announced Thursday morning, will leave the same gaping hole in Pelosi’s carefully-curated inner circle as will the year-end departure of another 20-term California Rep., Education and the Workforce ranking member George C. Miller.

But his retirement will set off what Democratic aides expect to be a fierce competition for the party’s top seat on the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee. Full story

September 11, 2013

OCE Report: Bishop Fixed Bar Mitzvah Fireworks, Then Asked for ’5 Large’

One of the most intriguing revelations from the four reports released by the Office of Congressional Ethics may have come from that of Rep. Timothy H. Bishop, D-N.Y., who, according to the OCE, helped a constituent get government clearance for a bar mitzvah fireworks display and then asked for a campaign donation.

In May 2012, the report states, one of Bishop’s constituents sought to hold a fireworks display off a barge near his home to celebrate his son’s bar mitzvah. The U.S. Coast Guard denied a permit, as it was apparently filed after a deadline. After attempting — and failing — to get permission from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation for an alternative location, the constituent contacted Robert Sillerman, a business associate, for advice, the report states. The business associate then offered to pass along word of his predicament to Bishop, whom he also knew.

Bishop, after making the necessary arrangements with government and local authorities for the constituent’s fireworks display, sent the following email to Sillerman, as included in the OCE report:

“Ok, so just call me the friggin mailman – we are all set with (the Constituent) [OCE BRACKETS]. Hey, would you be willing to reach out to him to ask for a contribution? If he donates before June 26, he and his wife can each do 5 large – if it is after June 26, they can each do a max of 2500…”

Bishop told the OCE that “in the email, he was relaying to Mr. Sillerman that they were ‘good to go’ and that he asked Mr. Sillerman to request a contribution because, in the past, Mr. Sillerman would occasionally solicit contributions on his behalf,” according to the report.

When another news organization started looking into the story later that summer, according to the OCE report, Bishop and the constituent engaged in a round of text messages where Bishop told the constituent to decline interviews so as to “kill this story.”

“I am being screwed,” Bishop said, according to the report.

The report states that the constituent has made repeated efforts to clear any taint from Bishop’s reputation, including issuing public statements.

July 8, 2013

McCarthy Headlines Event With ‘Prominent Birther,’ Says Ralston

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California will headline a GOP fundraiser in Las Vegas this weekend at which a “prominent birther” will also be making an appearance, well-known Nevada political journalist Jon Ralston reported.

Ralston writes that the Republican Women Southern Nevada PAC is holding a fundraiser on Saturday evening at the Venetian/Palazzo. Tickets for the event, dubbed the Red White & Blue Gala, range from $125 to $5,000.

McCarthy is scheduled to deliver the keynote address and appear alongside Republican luminaries of the Silver State, including Gov. Brian Sandoval, Sen. Dean Heller and Rep. Joe Heck.

And then there’s Wayne Allyn Root, author of “The Ultimate Obama Survival Guide.”

Full story

May 16, 2013

Reinvigorated Tea Party Bands Together Against IRS

Tea party leaders banded together Thursday morning to sound a rallying cry for the first time since news broke last week that the IRS disproportionately scrutinized conservative nonprofits applying for tax-exempt status.

Convened by Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., former presidential candidate and chairwoman of the House Tea Party Caucus, the news conference outside the Capitol included tea party allies in the House and Senate, national leaders and representatives from local groups around the country.

Their rhetoric left little room to wonder how they feel about the recent developments.

Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, called for an audit of the IRS, which she described as “thuggish.” Adam Brandon, the executive vice president of FreedomWorks, said the government was operating more like “a third world junta than a constitutional republic.”

“It’s an abuse of power, potentially by this administration, to advance their own political ends,” Bachmann told a crowd of reporters afterward. “And story after story after story leads one to the conclusion, based upon the presumptive evidence, that the administration was willing to misuse and abuse government power to advance its own re-election chances in the next election. That’s wrong.”

Lawmakers and political organizers pledged one after another that this is an issue that won’t temper a roaring boil anytime soon, and that they would continue to speak out until they had answers.

They were also joined by pro bono attorneys on Thursday, a clear signal that the voices of those targeted by the IRS will only grow louder.

“They lost funding, they lost donors,” said Jordan Sekulow, the executive director for the American Center for Law and Justice. “We have a group out of Tennessee that lost a $3,000 donation because they weren’t approved.

“There are monetary damages here. Events had to be canceled. Attorney fees before they hired us … groups hired local attorneys and were not allowed to even operate once they got approved,” Sekulow said.

Though revelations about IRS misconduct became public May 10, conservative organizations have been voicing concerns beginning around February 2012, at which point 27 of them became clients of Sekulow’s group.

May 14, 2013

Bachmann to Lead Tea Party’s Response to IRS Matter

Since news broke of allegations that the IRS improperly targeted applications for conservative tax-exempt organizations, members of Congress of all stripes have been eager to go on the record condemning these revelations.

On Tuesday, however, lawmakers who are actual stakeholders in the controversy continued to move the ball forward in responding to the charges and holding the agency accountable.

The Congressional Tea Party Caucus, which just last month relaunched after a period of dormancy, will hold a press conference Thursday morning.

Caucus chairwoman and former federal tax attorney Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and “Tea Party leaders” will “tell their stories of IRS intimidation and demand further investigation,” according to a Tuesday press release.

Full story

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