Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 27, 2014

August 26, 2014

U.S. Attorney Offers Plea Deals in Capitol Hill Gun Cases

photo 4 247x330 U.S. Attorney Offers Plea Deals in Capitol Hill Gun Cases

Prestage was arrested last month for allegedly carrying a firearm into the Cannon House Office Building. (Hannah Hess/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Ronald C. Machen Jr. has offered plea deals to two men who allegedly carried 9mm handguns and ammunition to Capitol Hill in July.

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

Christmas in August? Boehner Planning for Capitol Tree

tree 128 112513 440x255 Christmas in August? Boehner Planning for Capitol Tree

The 2013 Capitol Christmas Tree arrived in November from Washington state. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call FIle Photo)

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

By Hannah Hess Posted at 5:22 p.m.
AOC, Campus

Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada Hopes to Change Perception of ‘Melting Pot’ With National Mall Exhibit

dome029 110807 1 440x292 Jorge Rodriguez Gerada Hopes to Change Perception of Melting Pot With National Mall Exhibit

“Out of Many, One,” a massive facescape, will transform the National Mall this fall. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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

Capitol Police Pay Tribute to First Line-of-Duty Death

eney 003 081809 440x294 Capitol Police Pay Tribute to First Line of Duty Death

Vivian Eney Cross, left, is escorted by then-Capitol Police Chief Philip Morse during a 2009 ceremony at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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.

Full story

August 22, 2014

Lights May Go Out on Capitol Dome Friday Night

capitol 170 073011 440x301 Lights May Go Out on Capitol Dome Friday Night

The Dome may go dark tonight. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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.

Full story

Ferguson Protests Stay Peaceful in D.C., More Planned

justicemb 440x330 Ferguson Protests Stay Peaceful in D.C., More Planned

Protesters wave signs during a peaceful “Day of Rage” rally outside the White House. (Hannah Hess/CQ Roll Call)

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.

Full story

August 21, 2014

Authorities Prepare for Ferguson Protests in Washington

ferguson 021 081414 440x292 Authorities Prepare for Ferguson Protests in Washington

Peaceful demonstrators march on West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson, Mo., earlier this month. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

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.”

Update: Protests Stay Peaceful, More Planned

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.

Full story

August 19, 2014

Norton Questions Mostly White Ferguson Government

norton 136 121712 440x280 Norton Questions Mostly White Ferguson Government

Norton criticized racial disparities in Ferguson. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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.
Full story

Planes Flying Over D.C. for Aerospace Defense Tests

astro1 030703 440x302 Planes Flying Over D.C. for Aerospace Defense Tests

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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.

Full story

August 18, 2014

In Wake of Recent Arrests, Security Tightens at House Garages

garage081814 440x292 In Wake of Recent Arrests, Security Tightens at House Garages

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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.

Full story

Sign In

Forgot password?

Or

Subscribe

Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...