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September 20, 2014

Posts in "Members of Congress"

September 19, 2014

Members of Congress Skip Confusing Eisenhower Memorial Meeting

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Gehry, left, may not be party to the final design. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Only one of the eight members of Congress who sit on the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission attended a Wednesday afternoon meeting on the design, the latest attempt to move forward the project now 15 years in the making.

Rep. Sanford D. Bishop Jr., D-Ga., didn’t get to see the entire hour-long presentation, he told CQ Roll Call, because he had to leave for a House vote. Bishop didn’t miss much action: The fate of architect Frank Gehry’s design is undetermined, and a familiar chorus of critics are still calling for a restart.

Executive Architect Daniel J. Feil briefed the body on Gehry’s modified design — a plan that the Eisenhower family opposes — and a second alternative that would not include Gehry’s name. The first option was unveiled during a Sept. 4 National Capital Planning Commission, but there is only a vague idea about what the second might look like.

Without a quorum present, the commission could not take any public votes on how to proceed.

“This looks like a federal commission sowing confusion and controversy,” said Sam Roche, who represents the group Right by Ike, an organization pushing to replace the Gehry design with a public competition. Full story

Congress Playing Tough With the NFL (Video)

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A Redskins cheerleader entertained Capitol Police during a 2009 roll call. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In 2009, Capitol Hill welcomed the Washington Redskins Marching Band and two cheerleaders for a pep rally on the West Front. It was a festive preparation for a Monday night NFL game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Five years later, with growing opposition to the Washington team’s name, plus controversy surrounding the $10 billion league, Congress is attacking the NFL on all fronts. Members of both chambers have written Roger Goodell, the league’s commissioner, to complain about his handling of a domestic violence incident involving former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, calling for more transparency from the league.

Now, Senate Democrats are following through on a threat to use the NFL’s nonprofit status to pressure team owner Dan Snyder into changing the franchise’s name, putting the company’s tax exemption in peril.

Full story

Treaties Exhibit Ushers in 10 Years of American Indian Museum

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Indigenous leaders from the Cowboy and Indian Alliance participate in a Capitol Hill protest in April. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Museum of the American Indian will open its first exhibit exploring the contentious issue of treaties between the U.S. government and Indian Nations next week.

“This exhibit is a tangible reminder of the federal government’s relationship with sovereign tribal nations of this country,” Senate Indian Affairs Chairman Jon Tester, D-Mont., said Thursday. “It’s also a reminder of the moral and legal obligations that the United States has to honor and uphold our treaties with Indian country.”

Tester addressed a group gathered at a day-long symposium at the museum discussing the exhibit. “Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations” opens Sept. 21, which is the 10th anniversary of the opening of the museum. The exhibit will continue until the fall of 2018.

Museum Director Kevin Gover said during a preview Tuesday that the display was years in the making and came at the request of a number of tribes and members of Congress. Full story

September 18, 2014

McAllister ‘Disappointed’ in Chief of Staff Arrested for DUI

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call FIle Photo)

Gregory A. Terry, chief of staff for Republican Rep. Vance McAllister was arrested in Louisiana on Sept. 12, after a police officer observed the BMW he was driving swerving across highway lines. He has been charged with driving under the influence and improper lane use.

When an officer from the Richland Parish Sheriff’s Department conducted the traffic stop, he “could smell a very strong odor commonly associated with an alcoholic beverage emitting” from Terry, according to an affidavit from the department that was published by local news station KTEV NBC 10.

Terry stated he had not been drinking, and did not drink at all, according to the document, but performed poorly on a field sobriety test. He was subsequently placed under arrest.

McAllister released a statement on the arrest to CQ Roll Call, indicating that Terry is on leave from the office.

“I’m disappointed in Adam,” stated the Louisiana Republican, who has worked to distance himself from his own extra-marital scandal that saddled him with the nickname the “Kissing Congressman.”

“I do not condone his behavior, but I know he’s a good person and he’s worked hard for the people of Louisiana,” the statement continued. “Right now, he is at home with his family in the district and we want to make sure he gets the help he needs.”

A call to Terry’s cellphone went straight to a recording that said the voicemail box was full.

Police said there was a Styrofoam cup that had “some sort of alcoholic beverage in it” in the back seat. Terry appeared to have taken off the lid and poured it on the back carpet. The liquid was cold to the touch. Two pints of Jack Daniels — one empty and one full — were also found in the vehicle.


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Kansas City Police Arrest Suspect in Attempted Bombing of Cleaver Office

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Cleaver’s office in Kansas City was the target of an attack. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

Police charged a Kansas City man on Wednesday with throwing two Molotov cocktails at the district office of Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II on Sept. 11.

In a statement issued Thursday, the Missouri Democrat said he will be forever grateful that none of his staff, who were in Washington at the time, were injured “in the senseless attempt recently to destroy my Kansas City office.”

Eric King, 28, has been charged by U.S. attorneys in a federal criminal complaint that accuses him of using a dangerous instrument to oppose, impede, intimidate and interfere with a federal official engaged in the performance of his official duties. The Associated Press first reported the arrest.

Police said a window was broken in the attack, but the two alcohol-filled bottles failed to ignite before falling harmlessly outside the building. The paper towels stuffed into the necks of the bottles extinguished while still in the air, according to reports. An affidavit says King was captured throwing a hammer through the window, then lighting the bottles.

Authorities were investigating a multiple instances of anti-government vandalism committed over Labor Day weekend. King was arrested by the Kansas City Police Department in connection with a separate incident, according to Cleaver’s office.

“I have devoted my entire adult life to preaching, and hopefully living, the belief that civility supersedes viciousness, and the passion for positive outshines the vehemence of violence,” Cleaver said in a statement thanking law enforcement.

Related Story:

Police Investigate Attack on Emanuel Cleaver’s District Office

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September 17, 2014

Stockman Tweets Photo From the House Floor, Violating Chamber Rules

Rep. Steve Stockman got a little too excited following a floor vote Wednesday and made a move that violates House decorum.

The Texas Republican snapped a photo of Georgia Republican Paul Broun flashing a smile after what Stockman described as a “historic vote to #AuditTheFed” and tweeted it from his official account.

Though cellphones have become commonplace on the House floor, photography is strictly prohibited. A source with knowledge of the House rules confirmed that Stockman’s photo is a violation of the rules. Photo or video documentation of proceedings by members of Congress breaches a clause on “comportment.”

“A person on the floor of the House may not smoke or use a mobile electronic device that impairs decorum,” states part of rule 17, clause 5.

In January 2011, Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, gave the OK to electronic tablet devices as long as they are used “unobtrusively.” However, the ban on using devices for still photography, audio or video recording still stands.

Asked about the rules violation, Stockman spokesman Donny Ferguson gave CQ Roll Call a simple explanation.

“I don’t believe he was aware,” Ferguson said in an email. “He was no doubt caught up in the moment.”

It is unclear if the outgoing congressman, who is already the subject of an ethics investigation, will be disciplined.

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Press Galleries Pushing McCarthy for ‘Pen and Pad’ Briefings

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McCarthy has expressed interest in reinstating the briefings. (By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Members of the Capitol Hill press corps are pushing for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., to reinstate weekly “pen and pad” briefings to discuss the agenda, a tradition that ended with former Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.

The chairmen of the Periodical, Daily and Radio-TV press galleries submitted a letter to McCarthy Tuesday evening, urging him to bring back the weekly meetings and set a date for his first briefing in November, when Congress returns.

McCarthy spokesman Mike Long wrote in an email, “We’re reviewing the letter.” He did not know when the leader will respond to the request.

In their letter, Heather Rothman of Bloomberg BNA, Siobhan Hughes of The Wall Street Journal, and Frank Thorp V of NBC News pointed out that McCarthy has expressed interest in holding the briefings.

McCarthy told a group of reporters Monday that he is interested in holding pen-and-pad briefings but he has yet to formally respond to the media’s request for the meetings.

“These meetings are crucial to our ability to follow the agenda of the majority party of the House,” they wrote in the letter, which was shared with CQ Roll Call.

The leaders of the press corps also appealed to McCarthy’s own desire for transparency.

“You have listed ‘transparency in government’ as an ideal you strive to achieve,” they wrote, “and we believe interfacing regularly with the Capitol Hill Press Corps is an important step toward this goal.”

Cantor put an end to the weekly briefings in 2011. Since Cantor lost his primary and resigned, the press has been pushing to reinstate the briefings. In addition to the letter sent Tuesday, the chairmen issued a similar letter in July and also met with McCarthy’s staff to discuss the issue in August.

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September 16, 2014

Navy Yard Memorial Event Marks Anniversary of Tragedy

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U.S. Navy Captain Michael Graham calls to let people know he is OK after he escaped building 197 following the Sept. 16, 2013, Navy Yard shooting. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

On the one-year anniversary of the tragic Navy Yard shooting in Southeast Washington, House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, is inviting the Capitol Hill community and others to an evening ceremony honoring victims and survivors.

Among the 12 people gunned down by Aaron Alexis were three constituents from the Maryland Democrat’s district. All will be honored, along with the first responders and law enforcement involved in the response, during the 6 p.m. public ceremony at Canal Park, 1100 New Jersey Ave. SE, a green space near the Navy Yard gates.

“With so many Fifth District residents who serve in military and civilian roles at the Navy Yard — or know someone who does — many of us continue to keep our thoughts and prayers with the victims, survivors, and families of all of those affected,” Hoyer said in a statement.

In the immediate wake of the shooting, the congressman said he expected the event to renew discussion of gun control in Congress but was skeptical any action would be taken.

Twelve months later, lawmakers with oversight responsibilities in the Senate and House have probed into the security clearance background screening process that failed to identify Alexis as a potential threat. An independent panel appointed by the Department of Defense and a White House report have also delved into security clearance procedures.

President Barack Obama memorialized the rampage in a Tuesday statement and said the nation has continued to “improve security at our country’s bases and installations to protect our military and civilian personnel who help keep us safe.”

“One year ago, 12 Americans went to work to protect and strengthen the country they loved,” Obama stated. “Today, we must do the same — rejecting atrocities like these as the new normal and renewing our call for common-sense reforms that respect our traditions while reducing the gun violence that shatters too many American families every day.”

Navy Yard employees, some of the Navy’s top brass and Mayor Vincent Gray will also be in attendance for the Tuesday evening ceremony, organized by the group Near Southeast Community Partners.

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September 15, 2014

House Ethics Committee Probing Paul Broun

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(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Paul Broun, the Georgia Republican who lost a Senate primary in May, is being investigated for alleged ethics violations.

The House Ethics Committee revealed Monday that it is reviewing the alleged misconduct, without disclosing the reason for the probe. Next steps for the case involving the departing, three-term congressman will be announced on or before Oct. 29.

“The Committee notes that the mere fact of a referral or an extension, and the mandatory disclosure of such an extension and the name of the subject of the matter, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee,” the statement reads. Full story

September 11, 2014

Ethics Won’t Investigate Gwen Moore’s Arrest

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(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House Ethics Committee will not investigate Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis., following her Sept. 4 arrest while protesting with fast food workers outside a McDonald’s in her home state.

On Thursday, the committee published a routine report on the congresswoman’s arrest, and the disorderly conduct citation issued in West Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The panel said the matter is expected to be resolved with the payment of a fine, pending a non-mandatory court appearance on Nov. 18.

“The Committee voted against empanelling an investigative subcommittee in this matter,” the report states. “The Committee considered the scope and nature of the conduct described above and determined that review by an investigative subcommittee is not required in this matter.”

The protest was part of the national “Fight for 15” campaign staged in more than 150 cities across the country. Workers are fighting to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Moore’s citation will cost the five-term congresswoman $691.

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