- McDonnell Apologizes for Taking Gifts and Money
- Rubio Hints at Government Shutdown Over Immigration
- Close Three-Way Senate Race in Kansas
- Police Union Won't Back Democratic Convention in Brooklyn
- Is Obamacare Helping Some GOP Governors?
August 26, 2014
Both Ryan Shucard, a staffer in the office of Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., and pork and turkey executive Ronald Prestage face charges of carrying a pistol outside a home or business — a felony that carries up to five years in prison and $5,000 fine.
Court documents filed in both cases show that Machen has proposed an agreement under which each man would plead guilty to unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of one year of prison and a $1,000 fine. Under the terms of the nearly identical deals, filed on Aug. 15, federal prosecutors would not pursue any other weapons charges, and would reserve the right to allocution, or addressing the court, at the time of sentencing. Full story
August 25, 2014
A 65-foot spruce or balsam fir growing somewhere along Minnesota’s Paul Bunyan Trail will stand on the West Front Lawn this winter.
The North Star State’s Chippewa National Forest will provide the Capitol Christmas Tree this year, Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, announced Monday.
This year marks the second time the forest has provided the prominent evergreen. In 1992, Chippewa National Forest and Leech Lake Reservation sent a 60-foot white spruce to Washington, D.C., along with thousands of ornaments made by local school children. Full story
The National Mall is getting a new face this fall, composed of approximately 2,000 tons of sand, 800 tons of soil, 10,000 wooden pegs and miles of twine.
Six acres of land midway between the World War II and Lincoln memorials will transform into a grand landscape etching by Cuban-American urban artist Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada. The work is a composite portrait, blending the features of 18 to 25-year-old males from a variety of different racial and ethnic backgrounds whom Rodríguez-Gerada photographed on the streets of Washington, D.C.
“It’s a good time to contemplate our young men,” the artist told CQ Roll Call in a phone call from Spain. “We’re born with an identity and a face. It’s something we didn’t choose, but it affects us for the rest of our life.” Full story
August 23, 2014
Thirty years ago Sunday, tragedy struck the Capitol Police.
Sgt. Christopher Sherman Eney, 37, was fatally shot in the lower back at the conclusion of a training exercise designed to help the officers prepare for hostage situations.
Capitol Police had been performing the drill with blanks loaded into the weapons, Roll Call reported at the time, but the officers had reloaded with live ammunition at the end of the exercise.
August 22, 2014
Don’t be alarmed if the lights flicker outside the Capitol Dome Friday night. The enduring beacon of freedom isn’t dead — it’s undergoing regular maintenance.
The Architect of the Capitol is cautioning that brief power outages may occur as the agency performs planned maintenance to the electrical systems in the building. AOC spokeswoman Laura Condeluci assured CQ Roll Call the work is not related to the Dome restoration project, which has picked up pace during the August recess.
AOC electricians are responsible for thousands of miles of wiring and more than 100,000 light fixtures across Capitol Hill, according to the agency. Because many of the historic buildings on campus, including the Capitol, were built before electricity, they require continuous modernization and upgrades.
Contrary to concerns about violence or vandalism, protesters held peaceful events in Washington Thursday night in response to events in Ferguson, Mo.
What had been billed as a “Day of Rage” in front of the White House drew about two dozen people, including D.C. and St. Louis natives, and a cadre of local press. A handful of protesters sported Guy Fawkes masks often associated with Anonymous, the activist network that called for the nationwide rallies.
Close to 50 people gathered at a plaza across the street from the Columbia Heights Metro station to protest police brutality and the killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. A Metropolitan Police Department vehicle was parked nearby, watching the crowd chant, “No racist police!”
Though the crowd was smaller at the White House, the police presence was heavier. Three officers stood casually behind the protesters, as Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin led the group in song.
August 21, 2014
Downtown business owners and property managers in the District of Columbia are warning of the potential for violent Ferguson-related protests Thursday night.
Building managers suggested lockdowns and alternate travel routes to counter a national “Day of Rage” rally, planned to begin outside the White House at 7 p.m. The D.C. event is one of dozens of protests called for by the activists of Anonymous in a video that asks citizens “to collectively gather in support for those who are suffering in Ferguson.”
Capitol Police also are on alert for any protests near the Hill, hoping to keep things calm while still allowing demonstrators to exercise First Amendment rights.
“We are in continuous contact with our [law enforcement] partners regarding the proposed activity around D.C. and maintain our constant state of vigilance throughout the Capitol Campus,” department spokesman Shennell Antrobus told CQ Roll Call in an email.
August 19, 2014
D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton is characterizing the nearly all-white elected leadership and police force in majority-black Ferguson, Mo., as “poison.”
“Here you have mostly white police force in a mostly black community, but I’m really perplexed about why most of the elected officials are white as well,” Norton, a Democrat, said Tuesday during an interview with MSNBC’s Jose Diaz-Balart. “Is there something about the way elections are done in Missouri or in the county?”
Though members of Congress have raised the alarm about mounting violence and militarized police in the St. Louis suburb, Norton, a Yale-educated civil rights lawyer, may be among the first to raise the issue of racial disparity among Ferguson’s elected leadership.
Look skyward Tuesday and you might see some low-flying military aircraft over the District of Columbia.
But don’t panic: The planes are likely part of a practice run.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command will be practicing intercept and identification procedures over the region between 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. More exercises will take place Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.
The flights are scheduled to take place in or around the District, Virginia and Maryland. People in those areas may hear and or see low-flying NORAD-controlled helicopters flying near military or military contracted aircraft.
NORAD has tested its systems throughout the U.S. and Canada on a rotating basis since the start of Operation Noble Eagle, the command’s response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The organization tests responses to a variety of scenarios including airspace restriction violations and hijackings. Tuesday’s test flights mark the first time NORAD has tested in the National Capital Region this year, according to authorities.
August 18, 2014
Law enforcement officials on Capitol Hill are making it harder for people without congressional identification badges to avoid security checks in the wake of recent arrests for carrying handguns.
On Monday morning, Capitol Police began enforcing a new ID check policy at the House garages. When a car pulls up, officers check for the requisite parking stickers and ask every passenger to show credentials. Any passenger over the age of 18 who is without a congressional ID is required to exit the vehicle prior to its entry into the garage.
House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul D. Irving announced the change late on Aug. 15 in a memo to members of Congress and staff that was obtained by CQ Roll Call. According to the notice, passengers without ID will be directed to a pedestrian entrance. At those doors, they would be required to empty their pockets and submit to a search involving X-ray machines and magnetometers.
The change is an effort to “tighten security” at the House garages, according to a high-ranking security official who spoke on background about the changes. It comes after two incidents that have cast campus security in a new light.
During a search one month ago, Capitol Police found a 9 mm handgun in the bag of Ryan Shucard, press secretary for Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa. Police arrested Shucard, stopping him from bringing the weapon into the Cannon House Office building.
Five days later, Capitol Police arrested South Carolina pork executive Ronald Prestage at another Cannon door after finding a loaded 9 mm handgun inside an ankle holster in his briefcase.