Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 4, 2015

Posts by Hannah Hess

560 Posts

October 2, 2015

Secret Service Targeting of Chaffetz Alarms Lawmakers

ry Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, conduct a news conference in the Capitol introducing the "Taxpayer Bill of Rights Enhancement Act of 2015," June 16, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Secret Service behavior “threatens” Congress’ oversight of law enforcement, Grassley stated. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A Secret Service official’s allegedly deliberate decision to embarrass Rep. Jason Chaffetz could “give pause” to other lawmakers who have applied for federal jobs, cautioned former House Judiciary Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis.

The inappropriate intrusion into Privacy Act-protected information, acknowledged in a report by the agency’s inspector general, could have a chilling effect, Sensenbrenner told CQ Roll Call Thursday — and he thinks someone “should be fired over it.”

Full story

September 30, 2015

Secret Service Criticism Made Chaffetz a Target (Video)

Ranking member Cummings, left, and Chairman Chaffetz, right, head the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Cummings, left, wants the agency to apologize to Chaffetz, right. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Forceful questioning of then-Secret Service Director Julia Pierson helped Rep. Jason Chaffetz earn the notice he needed to grab the House Oversight and Government Reform gavel in the 114th Congress.

The Utah Republican’s fierce criticism of the agency also sent scores of Secret Service employees on a mission to discredit the congressman, a report by the Homeland Security Department’s Office of Inspector General revealed Wednesday. Full story

GOP Staffer Agrees to Testify in D.C. Superior Court (Updated)

Adam Eidinger incolonial garb as part of a March protest. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Eidinger, left, is challenging his arrest during an April hearing. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:03 p.m. | Outrage over Capitol Hill’s meddling in the District of Columbia’s affairs could soon come full circle.

The Republican staff director of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has agreed to trek from the halls of Congress to a local courtroom on Nov. 19. Sean McLaughlin will testify in D.C. Superior Court on why he directed a D.C. activist to leave the panel’s hearing room during an April 21 markup. Full story

September 29, 2015

Can Eisenhower Memorial Go It Alone Without Congress?

UNITED STATES - JULY 27: Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, R-Kan., participates in the news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center marking the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act on Monday, July 27, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Frustrated with critics of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial, now 16 years in the making, backers of Frank Gehry’s design appear to be putting their faith in former Sen. Bob Dole.

“We need $150 [million] and he raised $170 [million] for the World War II Memorial,” boasted Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., when asked about the former Senate majority leader’s bullish private fundraising effort. “We’ve got the [Veterans of Foreign Wars]. We got all the veterans groups. … I think it is coming together.”

If Roberts’ fellow Kansas Republican can do the same for Ike, the thinking goes, then to heck with Capitol Hill, where lawmakers have demanded designers appease the Eisenhower family. Full story

September 28, 2015

Judge Strikes Down 4 Bribery Counts in Menendez Case (Updated)

Menendez  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 6:57 p.m. | Four bribery counts against Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and his longtime Florida friend and political donor have been struck down in a ruling that cites key campaign finance decisions, but 18 still stand.

A New Jersey federal judge sided with defense attorneys on counts stemming from Salomon Melgen’s donations to Menedez’s “Fund to Uphold the Constitution” legal defense fund that benefited the senator. Citing McCormick v. United States, a corruption case involving a West Virginia lawmaker, and the Citizens United ruling, the court determined two $20,000 donations were protected political speech. Full story

Office of Congressional Ethics Dismisses Sexual Harassment Claims Against Farenthold

blake farenthold

Farenthold remains confident the House Ethics Committee will dismiss the case. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ethics investigators struck a blow Monday to an ex-House staffer’s sexual harassment claims against Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, nine months after the fired communications director filed suit in District of Columbia court.

The Office of Congressional Ethics did not find substantial reason to believe Farenthold, 53, sexually harassed Lauren Greene, discriminated against her on the basis of her gender, or retaliated against her for complaining about the alleged unlawful treatment. In accordance with public disclosure rules, the House Ethics Committee shared the OCE’s findings and announced it had not yet completed its own review of the matter. Full story

Plea Negotiations Underway in Hastert Case

 (Photo By Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Lawyers for former Speaker J. Dennis Hastert are talking to federal prosecutors about a possible plea deal in the Illinois Republican’s hush-money case, according to several media reports.

Both sides told a federal judge negotiations were underway during a Monday hearing in Chicago. The judge was set to rule on a second request by Hastert to delay a deadline for pre-trial motions in the criminal case. Full story

September 24, 2015

House Oversight Leaders Move to Quash Subpoenas

Ranking member Cummings, left, and Chairman Chaffetz, right, head the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ranking member Cummings, left, and Chairman Chaffetz were subpoenaed for documents and testimony. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Holding the gavel on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee might make Chairman Jason Chaffetz the most subpoena-happy member of Congress.

But the tables were turned Thursday, when the Utah Republican notified the House clerk that he had moved to quash a subpoena issued by the D.C. Superior Court in connection with a criminal case involving an activist for statehood. Chaffetz, ranking member Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., and the panel’s Republican staff director are all fighting subpoena requests for documents and testimony tied to the case. Full story

September 23, 2015

Michigan Militia Group Disavows Threat to Stabenow

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If Jon Ritzheimer travels to Michigan trying to arrest Sen. Debbie Stabenow for treason because of her support for the Iran nuclear deal, he may find a line of volunteer militia men guarding the Michigan Democrat.

“This is wrong. It sounds like mob rule to me,” said Lou Vondette, of the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia, one of the oldest active militias in the state. “We have no idea what this guy has on his mind,” Vondette said in a phone interview. The threats sound “just as terrifying to [us], as to anyone reading the story.” Full story

September 22, 2015

Militia Organizer Threatens to Arrest Stabenow Over Iran Deal

UNITED STATES - August 16: Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., speaks to a small crowd as she campaigns for democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at the Scott County Democrats Picnic in the Park in Eldridge, Iowa, on Sunday, August 16, 2015. A majority of the crowd left after hearing Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., speak prior. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

The man threatening Stabenow claims strong ties to a Michigan militia group. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Capitol Police are investigating a man identifying himself as an “Oathkeeper” and an “American Patriot who has everything to lose” who has threatened to arrest Sen. Debbie Stabenow for treason because of her support for the Iran nuclear deal.

Jon Ritzheimer, the Arizona resident who reportedly attracted FBI attention when he organized an anti-Muslim protest rally and “draw Muhammad” cartoon contest at a Phoenix mosque, shared his plan to organize with fellow U.S. Marines in an open letter posted online Monday. Full story

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