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

Posts in "Members of Congress"

September 3, 2015

Fattah Case: Congressional Gmail Subject to Subpoena

 Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Fattah tried to shield his Gmail account from prosecutors, under the Speech or Debate clause. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Just like Hillary Rodham Clinton, members of Congress can use personal email addresses to conduct congressional business. But those communications are not immune to FBI search.

On Wednesday, a federal appeals court opinion shed light on Rep. Chaka Fattah’s fight to squash a search warrant seeking data from his Gmail account. The Pennsylvania Democrat, indicted July 29 for alleged racketeering conspiracy, bribery and wire fraud, objected to turning over some emails sought in a grand jury subpoena, arguing disclosure would violate his constitutional protections.

Several months later, a judge has issued a search warrant authorizing the FBI to dig for evidence of criminal activity dating back to Jan. 1, 2008. Full story

September 2, 2015

Mike Honda Lawyers Up

Honda has also hired a public relations firm, specializing in crisis communications. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Honda has also hired a public relations firm, specializing in crisis communications. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Michael M. Honda hired attorneys from two prominent Washington law firms and a California public relations firm to respond to a controversy surrounding a potential House Ethics Committee probe into improper coordination between his campaign and official staff.

The move by the California Democrat, disclosed in quarterly filings with the Federal Election Commission, comes after Honda acknowledged he has been cooperating with Office of Congressional Ethics investigators who are looking into allegations raised by a former staffer. Full story

August 27, 2015

Ethics Battle Still Brewing Over Azerbaijan Travel

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The ethics watchdogs want Dent to release full findings from the Azerbaijan travel probe. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After it provoked a dispute between key players in Capitol Hill’s ethics enforcement process, Congress handed a probe of Azerbaijan travel to the executive branch and headed out for recess. But the battle is still brewing in Washington.

On Wednesday, watchdogs who have long lobbied Congress to get more serious about self-policing blasted the House Ethics Committee’s decision to close the case involving nine lawmakers without releasing a 70-page report from Office of Congressional Ethics investigators as “unprecedented.” Full story

August 26, 2015

Civil Rights Icon Amelia Boynton Robinson Dies at 104

Amelia Boynton Robinson, left, and Bernice King attend a reception honoring the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March on March 6, 2015. (Jason Davis/Getty Images File Photo for 51 Miles Forward presented by Hyundai Motor America)

Amelia Boynton Robinson, left, and Bernice King attend a reception honoring the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March on March 6, 2015. (Jason Davis/Getty Images File Photo for 51 Miles Forward presented by Hyundai Motor America)

Amelia Boynton Robinson, the 104-year-old civil rights activist whose role in the 1965 Bloody Sunday march from Selma to Montgomery was celebrated in this year’s 50th anniversary of the event, in the movie “Selma” and by her appearance at this year’s State of the Union, died Wednesday. She was 104.

“Mrs. Amelia Boynton Robinson will not only be remembered for her invaluable contributions as a matriarch of the voting rights movement but she was also the first black woman from the State of Alabama to run for Congress. Without her courageous campaign for the 7th Congressional District, I know that my election to this seat in 2010 would not have been possible. Her sacrifices paved the way for me to walk the halls of Congress and I will carry my love and admiration for her in my heart each and every day,” Rep. Terri A. Sewell, D-Ala., who represents Selma, said in a statement. Robinson was Sewell’s guest for the 2015 State of the Union address, where the elderly activist met with President Barack Obama before his speech in a holding room in the Capitol.

Her home in Selma was used for planning the March 1965 march. On the fateful Bloody Sunday, she was among those, including now-Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., savagely beaten by Alabama troopers and vigilantes on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Her traumatic experience in 1965 came full circle when she crossed the bridge in March in a wheelchair beside Obama, the first black president.

“Amelia Boynton never got weary. She never gave up. She never gave in. She kept the faith. She kept on defending the need to respect human dignity in America. Her work and her accomplishments were a source of inspiration for so many people in the South and around our country,” Lewis said in a statement.

Robinson’s age had been a matter of debate among her, friends and the media. She previously gave her age this year to be 105, but media outlets and her family seemed to have settled on her age now, at 104.

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Court Orders in Chaka Fattah Case Could Complicate Life in Congress

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The congressman is barred from communicating with two congressional colleagues without an attorney. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Pre-trial orders from the federal judge overseeing Rep. Chaka Fattah’s corruption case have made it hard and expensive for the Pennsylvania Democrat to do his job in Congress.

Fattah is barred from communicating or have contact with fellow Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch, of Florida, or Sen. Bob Casey, the senior Democratic senator from his state’s congressional delegation, without an attorney present under the Aug. 18 order. Both Capitol Hill colleagues could be called by prosecutors to testify in the case, according to court documents. Full story

August 25, 2015

Prosecutors: Menendez Argument ‘Blueprint’ for Criminal Immunity on Capitol Hill

Menendez

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Measuring the scope of Congress’ ability to shield its work from prosecutors, Department of Justice lawyers and attorneys representing Sen. Robert Menendez seem to agree on only one point: The New Jersey Democrat’s assistance securing tourist and student visas for Dr. Salomon Melgen’s young, foreign girlfriends falls into the unprotected category.

But the two sides are feuding over protections granted under the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause as they relate to nearly every other allegation of bribery in the 14-count indictment. Full story

August 24, 2015

Justice Department Ready to Rumble With Menendez

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

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

The team prosecuting Sen. Robert Menendez is firing back against accusations of misconduct in the government’s corruption case, calling the New Jersey Democrat’s legal arguments “meritless” and sensational.

On Monday, Department of Justice lawyers filed five briefs, spanning nearly 230 pages, in response to 14 motions from Menendez’s legal team alleging perjury, grand jury abuse and violations of the senator’s constitutional rights. The DOJ characterizes the July 20 filings from Menendez, which could push back the start of the case, as redundant and inaccurate. Full story

August 18, 2015

Slain Intern a ‘Terrible Tragedy,’ Says Portman

UNITED STATES - MARCH 13: U.S. Capitol police investigate a suspicious package at 1st and D St. NE. (Photo By Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

For the second time this summer, a former congressional intern was killed in the District of Columbia, as a spike in violent crime continues to rock the nation’s capital.

Matthew Shlonsky, 23, was shot and killed around 5 p.m. Saturday, though police said he did not appear to be the target. Shlonsky resided in Northeast D.C., but hailed from Ohio. The 2014 American University graduate interned for Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, from January to May in 2013. Full story

August 11, 2015

House Spending Review: Do Members Need Accounting Lessons?

Schock resigned on March 31. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If rules change after Schock, how will members get up to speed?  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When Rep. Scott Rigell came to Congress in 2011, he wore two phones on his hip. One was government-issued for official use; the other was a personal phone.

The official handbook for House members lists bills for telecommunications devices and services as one of 15 advance payments that can be cut from the more than $1 million each member is allotted to run Capitol Hill and district offices. But additional rules govern where, when and how those cellphones and tablets can be used, depending on the purpose and who pays. Full story

August 6, 2015

Chaffetz Calls for Removal of OPM CIO (Updated)

Chaffetz called for the removal of OPM CIO Donna Seymour. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Chaffetz called for the removal of OPM CIO Donna Seymour. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 12:50 p.m. | Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, reiterated his call Thursday for the chief information officer at the Office of Personnel Management to step down in the wake of data breaches that affected millions of federal employees.

In a letter sent to acting OPM Director Beth Cobert, Chaffetz wrote that CIO Donna Seymour is “unfit to perform the significant duties for which she is responsible.” Chaffetz is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which held lengthy hearings in June following two data breaches at OPM that affected more than 22 million current, former and prospective government employees. Full story

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