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

Posts by Hannah Hess

385 Posts

February 27, 2015

Code Pink Feeling Stifled by Capitol Police Crackdown

CodePink protesters more likely to end up in handcuffs on the Hill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Lately, Code Pink protests have ended with handcuffs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Forced into handcuffs before and after congressional hearings over the past two days, protesters organizing with Code Pink are fuming about the beefed-up presence of Capitol Police when contentious, high-profile officials testify on Capitol Hill.

On Thursday, officers arrested Shahid Buttar, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, when he rose from his seat to challenge Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. after the conclusion of a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on worldwide threats. Full story

February 26, 2015

Kerry Bentivolio Files for Bankruptcy

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Fewer than two months after the Santa Claus impersonator and reindeer farmer who represented southeast Michigan for one term left Congress, the tea party-inspired Republican has filed for bankruptcy.

Former Rep. Kerry Bentivolio listed more than $294,000 in liabilities in documents filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on Monday. Bentivolio, 63, owes nearly $55,000 to two Michigan-based law firms, and has been ordered to pay $120,000 in a case stemming from an illegal campaign claim from his former consultant. Full story

Private Plane Rides Have Bumpy Congressional History

Schock"to stay connected with my constituents," and also travels for campaign fundraising purposes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Schock’s office explained his frequent flights as a way “to stay connected with my constituents.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Among the serious accusations of improper spending leveled at Rep. Aaron Schock since The Washington Post shined a spotlight on his “Downton Abbey”-themed office are at least a dozen flights aboard his political donors’ private planes.

But Rep. Don Young and a handful of other lawmakers have pushed to change the very ethics rule Schock is alleged to have violated by accepting flights aboard privately owned aircraft. Full story

February 25, 2015

Officer Morale a Hot Topic for Capitol Police at Appropriations Hearing

The U.S. Capitol Police Recruit Officer Class 177 is sworn in during a ceremony in the Dirksen Senate Office Building. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Wasserman Schultz worries low morale among Capitol Police could distract from protecting the complex. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Low morale among Capitol Police was a hot topic for law enforcement officials on Wednesday during a series of panels convened by the House lawmakers who set the department’s budget.

Both House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul D. Irving and Capitol Police Chief Kim C. Dine fielded questions about low officer morale from longtime Legislative Branch appropriator Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, the subcommittee’s top Democrat. She professed a “notable uptick” in the number of officers pulling her aside on the Hill to chat about internal department issues. Full story

February 23, 2015

Court Reinstates FMLA Complaint Against Capitol Police

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A Capitol Police officer who sued the department in April 2012 with allegations of Family and Medical Leave Act interference and retaliation won a small victory in District of Columbia appeals court on Feb. 20 when the court reinstated her claim.

Judy Anne Gordon, a private first class assigned to the Capitol Division, applied for 240 hours of FMLA leave in May 2011, about six months after her husband’s suicide. The Indian Hill, Md., resident filed medical papers explaining she was experiencing intermittent periods of severe and incapacitating depression as a result of the suicide.

Full story

Capitol Police Chief’s Leadership Questioned

Under Capitol Police Chief Kim C. Dine, right, the department is pursuing accredidation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The State of the Union car chase has put Dine’s leadership of the Capitol Police under scrutiny. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The State of the Union night car chase that ended without arrest added new strains to already tense relationships inside the law enforcement community on Capitol Hill.

Capitol Police officers who were disturbed and embarrassed by the Jan. 20 incident allege it’s part of a frustrating pattern. They say commanders have instructed the rank and file to refrain from “low-value” stops — including traffic violations involving drunk driving and drug impairment on streets around the Capitol campus, multiple sources confirmed — because those arrests do not contribute to thwarting terrorism and protecting Congress.

Within the Capitol, House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul D. Irving and Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Frank J. Larkin were frustrated when they were unable to get an accurate portrayal of the facts about the high-speed chase that ended on Washington Avenue Southwest, adjacent to the Rayburn House Office Building.

Full story

February 13, 2015

Farenthold’s Office Denies ‘Sexual Fantasies’ About Fired Staffer

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Two months after a discrimination lawsuit accused Rep. Blake Farenthold of creating a hostile, sexually charged work environment, the Texas Republican claims his former communications director was fired for not showing up to work and lying about the circumstances of her absence.

In a detailed, 14-page response filed by attorneys from the Office of House Employment Counsel, Farenthold, 53, denied he was attracted to 27-year-old staffer Lauren Greene or that he had the “sexual fantasies” and “wet dreams” Greene alleged in her complaint. Full story

No New Confidence in Metro After Hearing on L’Enfant Incident

Chairman John Mica, R-Fla., conducts a House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations hearing in Rayburn on marijuana laws in the District. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Mica grilled Metro and D.C. Fire authorities on the Jan. 12 incident. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Despite intense scrutiny from lawmakers and federal safety regulators in the month since the deadly Metro incident that sent dozens of riders to the hospital and resulted in one death, local transit and public safety officials haven’t convinced passengers that the Jan. 12 emergency couldn’t happen again.

After 75 minutes of testimony and questioning, members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee put the spotlight on Jonathan Rogers, a witness to the Metro chaos, who captured video from within the train and worked with fellow passengers to administer CPR to Carol I. Glover, the 61-year-old woman who died of acute respiratory failure due to smoke exposure. Full story

February 12, 2015

Immigration Protests in Capitol Offices Strain Police

Tears welling in her eyes, Maria Sotomayor explained to a staffer in the office of Rep. Lou Barletta how the Pennsylvania Republican put her family at risk by attempting to dismantle President Barack Obama’s executive orders on immigration.

“It’s not about politics,” chanted Sotomayor echoed by four other protesters. “But it’s about the people that they’re hurting. It’s about our grandmothers, our grandfathers, our mothers and fathers.”  The 22-year-old, representing the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition, was one of 300 protesters who descended Wednesday on Capitol Hill to stage sit-in demonstrations in the offices of Republican leaders and outspoken anti-immigration critics. Full story

House Ethics Committee Briefly Opens Its Doors

Dent wielded the Ethics gavel for the first time during the Feb. 12 meeting. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Dent wielded the Ethics gavel for the first time during the Feb. 12 meeting. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)ics

The public got a rare glimpse inside the House Ethics Committee on Thursday morning, when the secretive panel convened to determine its rules and oversight plan for the 114th Congress. Full story

By Hannah Hess Posted at 11:55 a.m.
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