Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
May 28, 2015

Posts by Hannah Hess

452 Posts

May 27, 2015

DOJ Opposes Moving Menendez Trial to D.C.

DOJ lawyers (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Justice Department fired back at Menendez. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Justice Department lawyers filed their response Tuesday to Sen. Robert Menendez’s request to move his federal corruption trial from Newark, N.J., to Washington, D.C., arguing the New Jersey Democrat “ignores” the indictment’s allegations he accepted things of value in his home state and demonstrates a “lack of seriousness” about the charges he faces. Full story

Blimps Over Capitol: Just Hot Air?

The Office of Naval Research worked with Science & Technology International  to develop blimps for the war on terrorism. (Alex Wong/Getty Images File Photo)

The Office of Naval Research worked with Science & Technology International in 2003 to test blimps for the war on terrorism. (Alex Wong/Getty Images File Photo)

Coming soon to a Capitol skyline near you: Giant blimps at 10,000 feet?

The woman at the helm of the House Administration Committee thinks the Capitol needs eyes in the sky, after authorities failed to detect Florida mailman Douglas Hughes’ April 15 gyrocopter flight.

Chairwoman Candice S. Miller, R-Mich., visited U.S. Customs and Border Patrol ground stations along the Southern border in January and was amazed at the clarity of the Tethered Aerostat Radar System, or TARS. She is suggesting the “sophisticated technology” might suit the Capitol. Full story

May 26, 2015

Food Truck Man Owned Pressure Cooker Destroyed by Police

The Arlington, Va., man who triggered a bomb scare Sunday near the National Mall apologized and explained the pressure cooker that Capitol Police exploded was used for his food truck business, NBC4 reported on Monday.

Acting out of an abundance of caution during the annual Memorial Day concert that draws thousands to the Capitol grounds, a bomb squad smashed his back window of a “suspicious” car parked on the west side of Third Street Northwest, removed the pressure cooker and a propane tank — also food truck equipment — and then blew them up. Full story

Police Evacuate Capitol, CVC After Fire Alarm Goes Off

Capitol Police stand guard Tuesday outside the Capitol. (Hannah Hess/CQ Roll Call)

Capitol Police stand guard Tuesday outside the Capitol. (Hannah Hess/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 1:24 p.m. | Police evacuated the Capitol Tuesday after a fire alarm went off in the Capitol Visitor Center.

According to a source close to the investigation, “exhaust fan issues” caused the smoke to appear in a room in the CVC around 12:20 p.m., prompting Capitol Police officers to evacuate both that building and the Capitol. Full story

May 25, 2015

Capitol Police Explode Pressure Cooker in ‘Suspicious’ Vehicle Near National Mall

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A Capitol Police bomb squad safely exploded a pressure cooker in a parked car near the National Mall Sunday evening, the department said in a statement. They acted out of an abundance of caution, during the annual Memorial Day concert that draws thousands to the Capitol grounds, but later found nothing hazardous about the vehicle. Full story

May 21, 2015

Senate at Work Won’t Stop Memorial Day Concert

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Setup for the Memorial Day concert will go on as planned. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Despite the impending weekend Senate session, the 26th Annual National Memorial Day Concert on the West Lawn of the Capitol will go on — and that means some inconvenience for congressional staffers and thousands of dollars worth of overtime work for Capitol Police.

As of Thursday afternoon, the Senate was scheduled to be in session and voting Saturday on legislation related to expiring surveillance authorities under the Patriot Act. And a reauthorization of expiring highway authorities was also on track to be unresolved by the weekend.

Full story

Doug Hughes: Congress Must Honor Vows to ‘We the People’

Hughes soaks in the support at the courthouse. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Hughes soaks in the support at the courthouse. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Florida mailman Douglas Hughes got a hero’s welcome when he returned to Washington Thursday to face six charges related to his April 15 landing on the West Front of the Capitol.

In a lofty speech to supporters and about two dozen reporters, Hughes called on lawmakers to “honor the vows of fidelity implicit in the Constitution.” The 61-year-old advocate for campaign finance reform clarified, that’s “fidelity to ‘We the People.'” Full story

May 20, 2015

Gyrocopter Pilot Indicted on Six Charges

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Florida man who landed a gyrocopter on the Capitol lawn in April has been indicted by a federal grand jury and faces a maximum of nine-and-a-half years in prison.

On April 15, Douglas Hughes of Ruskin, Fla., flew a gyrocopter from Gettysburg, Pa., and landed on the West Front of the Capitol, sparking questions about national security. Hughes worked as a mail carrier, had a Postal Service decal on the gyrocopter, and trekked to the Capitol to deliver letters to lawmakers relating to campaign finance. Full story

Cops Who Lost Guns Still Protecting GOP Leaders (Video)

Dine said there's "no excuse" for lost service weapons. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Dine said there’s “no excuse” for lost service weapons. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As part of their biannual weapons qualification, Capitol Police will receive new weapons safety training to reinforce proper handling, i.e., what to do with your gun when you go to the potty, Chief Kim C. Dine told lawmakers Wednesday.

Leaving a gun unattended around the Capitol currently warrants five days of suspension without pay, but Dine and newly appointed Assistant Chief Matthew R. Verderosa, are considering increasing the punishment to a 30-day suspension — or even termination — following the May 1 report of three such incidents. Full story

By Hannah Hess Posted at 5:39 p.m.
Capitol Police

Congress Concerned by Capitol Police Conduct With Protesters

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 11: U.S. Capitol Police honor guard members salute during the Washington Area Law Enforcement Memorial Service outside of DC Police headquarters on Monday May 11, 2015. The event held by the Fraternal Order of Police Auxiliary DC Lodge honored deceased local law enforcement officers, including U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Clinton J Holz. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Concern about inconsistent treatment of protesters  by officers sparked a letter to Capitol Police Chief Kim C. Dine. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Congress has been critical of the Capitol Police this year when it comes to the department’s handling of protesters. Now, one member is demanding to see the department’s policies on removing demonstrators from House and Senate hearings.

It started in January, when Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain called one of the protesters who disrupted a panel hearing “low-life scum,” and later vowed he would be “raising hell” over their behavior toward 91-year-old former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Full story

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