Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
March 27, 2015

March 27, 2015

Ed Whitfield’s Ties to Lobbyist Wife Subject of House Ethics Probe

Whitfield, left, has denied using his seat to boost his family's financial interests. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Whitfield, left, has denied using his seat to boost his family’s financial interests. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The congressional ethics police have launched a formal investigation into allegations that Rep. Edward Whitfield has been using his House seat for family gain.

The House Ethics Committee on Friday announced that its 10 members have voted unanimously to form an Investigative Subcommittee to determine whether the Kentucky Republican violated any law, rule or regulation with respect to ties to his lobbyist wife, Constance Harriman Whitfield. The probe centers on reports that the couple may have coordinated to advance her work on behalf of the Humane Society Legislative Fund or the Humane Society of the United States. Full story

March 26, 2015

Rubio, Jordan Target D.C.’s Local Control Over Gun Regulations

Rubio wants to loosen D.C. gun laws. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rubio wants to loosen D.C. gun laws. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio introduced a bill Thursday aimed at loosening the District of Columbia’s gun laws.

The Republican lawmakers’ bill, titled the Second Amendment Enforcement Act of 2015, states that D.C. “remains one of the most dangerous large cities in the United States.” The text states that D.C.’s regulations prevent citizens from protecting themselves against violent crime. Full story

Mendelson to Lankford: D.C. Bills Don’t Violate Religious Freedom

Mendelson, left, sent a letter to Lankford arguing the bills do not violate religious freedom. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Mendelson, left, sent a letter to Lankford arguing the bills do not violate religious freedom. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and James Lankford of Oklahoma introduced resolutions of disapproval to block two District of Columbia bills from becoming law, the D.C. Council chairman took his argument in support of the bills directly to Lankford.

“There is no intent on our part to violate the rights of others, such as freedom of religion,” Council Chairman Phil Mendelson wrote in a two-page letter sent to Lankford on March 20. Full story

Capitol Fun Police? Farr Opposes July Fourth Security Plan

Farr

Farr fed up with Capitol Police curtailing fun around the Hill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

One of the House’s most liberal Democrats vowed to be the “squeaky wheel” if congressional leaders agree to recommendations from Hill law enforcement to limit access to the Capitol on July Fourth.

“This building belongs to the people, not to the Capitol Police, and they ought to accommodate the people who own this building, the American people, so they can come and visit their Capitol,” Rep. Sam Farr of California said Thursday, telling CQ Roll Call that the March 12 proposal ticked him off. Full story

Congress Not Pushing Back on July Fourth Security Crackdown

Oh, say will you still be able to see from the Capitol? (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Oh, say will you still be able to see from the Capitol? (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hill staffers would be the people most affected if Capitol law enforcement cracks down on Memorial Day and Fourth of July parties. That might be why members of Congress do not seem to be pushing back on a March 12 letter from the Capitol Police Board.

While lawmakers dismissed past proposals to limit access to the so-called “people’s house,” such as building a fence around the 276-acre complex, as former Senate Sergeant-at-Arms and Capitol Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer recently suggested, this most recent recommendation might prove more popular. Full story

Former Staffer Is Off the Hill, but Still On the Grind

(Courtesy Robert McAlister)

(Courtesy Robert McAlister)

Robert McAlister didn’t know anything about the coffee business. But he knew he enjoyed drinking coffee.

“People from New Orleans, and Louisiana in general, tend to really be coffee lovers, so I already was. And I had an interest in it and just really wanted to know more about the coffee industry,” McAlister said, explaining his move from Capitol Hill to become head of wholesale sales for a burgeoning coffee company. Full story

March 25, 2015

House Officials Not Impressed With Vitter’s Obamacare Probe

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Vitter is investigating congressional health care. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As part of his ongoing investigation into congressional enrollment in Obamacare, Sen. David Vitter is taking on the House of Representatives, asking Speaker John A. Boehner to push House officials to comply with his inquiry. But neither the speaker’s office nor other House officers seem likely to do so.

“I am writing to advise you of my efforts and also to request any assistance that you or your office can offer in obtaining the cooperation of the House of Representatives in this important investigation,” the Louisiana Republican wrote in a letter sent Tuesday to Boehner. Full story

Eight Arrested in Anti-Abortion ‘Pray-In’ Outside Boehner’s Office

Anti-abortion protesters claim they were betrayed on Jan. 22, 2015, the day of the March for Life. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Anti-abortion protesters claim they were betrayed by GOP House leadership on Jan. 22 when the March for Life descended on D.C. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A 30-minute “pray-in” organized at the door of Speaker John A. Boehner’s office by anti-abortion groups ended Wednesday morning with eight arrests.

“We were told yesterday by Speaker Boehner’s office that this is the most pro-life Congress that has ever been installed, and yet a ban on late-term abortions … has languished in the House, the so-called ‘most pro-life House in the last 70 years,'” said Troy Newman of Operation Rescue, a prominent activist who was handcuffed by Capitol Police after dropping to his knees outside the Ohio Republican’s Longworth office. Full story

By Hannah Hess Posted at 2:29 p.m.
Capitol Police

Rotunda to Close for Six Weeks This Summer

Floor and art protection will once again be installed in July. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Floor and art protection will once again be installed in July. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Capitol Rotunda will close for six weeks this summer for scaffolding installation as part of the $60 million Dome restoration project.

According to a recent update on the Architect of the Capitol’s website, the Rotunda will be closed from July 25 through Labor Day on Sept. 7 so workers can install scaffolding to repair the Rotunda’s interior. Damage to the Dome has caused water to leak through the more than 1,000 cracks onto the Rotunda, damaging the interior. Full story

By Bridget Bowman Posted at 10:40 a.m.
AOC, Campus

Authorities to Transfer Jesse Jackson Jr. to D.C. Halfway House

Jackson will be monitored and forced to look for a job at the halfway house. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Jackson will be monitored, placed under curfew and forced to look for a job at the halfway house. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is expected to return to Washington this week, nearly 17 months after the Illinois Democrat entered the federal prison system to begin a 30-month sentence for defrauding his campaign.

Jackson will enter a privately run halfway house as early as Thursday, where he will be monitored, placed under a curfew and be required to look for a job, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Tuesday evening, relaying the news from a Federal Bureau of Prisons spokesman. Full story

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