Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 1, 2015

Posts in "Staffers"

March 26, 2015

Former Staffer Is Off the Hill, but Still On the Grind

(Courtesy Robert McAlister)

(Courtesy Robert McAlister)

Robert McAlister didn’t know anything about the coffee business. But he knew he enjoyed drinking coffee.

“People from New Orleans, and Louisiana in general, tend to really be coffee lovers, so I already was. And I had an interest in it and just really wanted to know more about the coffee industry,” McAlister said, explaining his move from Capitol Hill to become head of wholesale sales for a burgeoning coffee company. Full story

March 25, 2015

New Head of LGBT Congressional Staff Association Seeks Diversity for Group | Hill Climbers

Rivard is the leader of the LGBT Congressional Staff Association. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rivard is the leader of the LGBT Congressional Staff Association. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Mitchell Rivard, the new president of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Congressional Staff Association, said he and the group’s board have a plan to broaden their organization.

“The three pillars we’re working on are more Republicans, more women and more people of color,” said Rivard, who started in January.

They’re off to a good start. The group has bipartisan sponsorship in Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R–Fla., and Jared Polis, D–Colo. And though the majority of the members are Democrats they have expanded outreach efforts, such as bringing in the president of the Log Cabin Republicans to speak to the group. Full story

February 27, 2015

Judge Dismisses Obamacare Lawsuit Targeting Congressional Health Care

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A D.C. Superior Court judge dismissed a lawsuit challenging congressional health care enrollment in the D.C. small business exchange Wednesday, ruling that federal regulations allow members of Congress and their staffs to enroll in the exchange.

In October, the group Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit on behalf of D.C. resident Kirby Vining, alleging that allowing Congress to enroll in the small business exchange violated D.C. law, which stipulates that a small business has 50 or fewer employees. The D.C. government acknowledged Congress is not a small business under D.C. law as part of a motion to the dismiss the case in January. But the D.C. government also argued a 2013 Office of Personnel Management ruling instructing congressional employees to enroll in the exchange trumped D.C. law, and enrollment could continue. Full story

February 19, 2015

Staffers Get to Know ‘the Real Washington’

Norton at the 2014 "Ask Me About D.C. Event." (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Norton at the 2014 “Ask Me About D.C.” event. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hundreds of staffers crowded into the Cannon caucus room Wednesday afternoon to learn about what the District of Columbia has to offer outside of Capitol Hill — and to fill their “D.C. Stuff” bags with some capital swag.

Staffers perused the 72 tables advertising local restaurants, hotels, attractions and services as part of D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton’s annual “Ask Me About D.C.” event.

“What I’m hoping they take away from this event is information to give their constituents beyond official Washington, to what we call the ‘real Washington,’ the Washington that has 650,000 people, the Washington beyond the Mall,” the Democrat told CQ Roll Call at the event. “We think that’s the part of Washington that their constituents need to get to know.”

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

Staffers Discuss Policing After Garner, Brown Decisions

Members and staffers participated in a demonstration in December on the steps of the Capitol. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Members and staffers participated in a demonstration in December on the steps of the Capitol. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Staffers gathered Thursday in the Capitol Visitor Center to continue discussing community policing in the wake of the Michael Brown and Eric Garner jury decisions.

Through organizations such as the Congressional Black Associates and the Senate Black Legislative Staff Caucus — black Hill staffers have sought to bring awareness to issues surrounding policing in black communities. After putting together a demonstration on the Capitol steps in December, organizers see Thursday’s CVC panel discussion as a logical next step. Full story

February 11, 2015

Phone Scammers Target Congressional Offices

Congressional offices have been warned of fraudulent phone calls. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Congressional offices have been warned about fraudulent phone calls. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Security officials are warning Capitol Hill employees to be alert for telephone scams targeting congressional offices, a reminder that Internet-calling technology makes phone calls as big a threat to Congress as cyberattacks.

On Monday, the Office of the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms sent out a notice about illegal phone phishing incidents, involving callers trying to elicit sensitive information about the Senate network, including IP addresses, files present on Senate computers and how to obtain remote access. Full story

February 4, 2015

Vitter Requests Obamacare Documents From D.C., House and Senate

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. David Vitter, R-La., is continuing his legal battle over congressional members’ and staffers’ health care enrollment in the D.C. small business exchange by demanding answers to questions raised by an ongoing Obamacare lawsuit.

In a letter sent Tuesday to Mila Kofman, executive director of D.C. Health Benefit Exchange Authority; House Clerk Karen Haas; and Ileana Garcia, financial clerk for the Senate Disbursing Office, Vitter requested that officials answer questions and provide information previously redacted in documents. As chairman of the Senate’s Small Business Committee, Vitter is seeking to prove officials knowingly mischaracterized Congress as a small business in the health care enrollment, violating D.C. law, which classifies a small business as one with 50 or fewer employees. Full story

January 26, 2015

Getting Beyond Budget Scorekeeper’s Perennial ‘Pissing Contest’

Former CBO acting director Donald Marron, a potential Elemendorf successor, testifies during 2006 Senate Budget hearing. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former CBO acting Director Marron, a potential Elmendorf successor, testifies during Senate Budget Committee hearing in 2006. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Can the new director of the Congressional Budget Office get “beyond the basic pissing contest” of how to score legislation? The former heads of the official scorekeeping agency hope so.

As Washington awaits the identity of a new CBO director, fiscal policy wonks are delving into a pending rule change that will require Douglas W. Elmendorf’s successor to incorporate a contentious way of estimating economic effects into the official price tags of major pieces of legislation.

Full story

January 13, 2015

Pearce Pushed House Rule Change to Provide ‘Protection’ in Ethics Cases

Pearce said a junior staffer in his office was "unfairly singled out" in an ethics probe. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Pearce said he felt a junior staffer was “unfairly singled out” in an ethics probe. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Reacting to an Office of Congressional Ethics probe of a junior staffer, Rep. Steve Pearce pushed the House to add some stiff new language to its rules governing the OCE and the House Ethics Committee.

During a closed-door GOP conference meeting, the New Mexico Republican persuaded his colleagues to insert new subsections into the rules, stating the two entities “may not take any action that would deny any person any right or protection provided under the Constitution of the United States.” Full story

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