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May 24, 2015

Posts in "Staffers"

May 13, 2015

Hill-Climbing Staffer Reflects on Nepal Earthquake

Mueller at Everest Base Camp. (Photo courtesy of Gillian Mueller)

Mueller poses at Everest Base Camp. (Courtesy Gillian Mueller)

During a recent congressional recess, Gillian Mueller visited ancient temples in Nepal. Nine days later, the temples were rubble.

“We were walking around Durbar Square in Kathmandu, which is one of the places that had the most destruction,” Mueller said. “Temples that we were standing on and looking at are crumbled right now. So it’s a little surreal to think about that.” Full story

By Bridget Bowman Posted at 5 a.m.

April 29, 2015

Senate Aide Pleads ‘Not Guilty’ to Drug Charges

In a federal courtroom blocks from the Capitol, a Senate aide who spent the past three decades working for Mississippi Republican Thad Cochran pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to two serious drug charges related to methamphetamine and date rape drugs.

Fred W. Pagan, 49, said little more than “yes, ma’am” during the brief arraignment, and was escorted out of the courtroom by a public defender, who told reporters not to follow along. Pagan indicated he has hired an attorney, and asked not to be contacted by law enforcement without the presence of counsel. Full story

By Hannah Hess Posted at 3:36 p.m.
DC Crime, Staffers

April 24, 2015

Cochran Staffer Confesses to Sex-for-Drugs Scheme, Feds Say

Cochran is Mississippi's senior senator. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Cochran is Mississippi’s senior senator. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Agents from Homeland Security Investigations raided the Northwest Washington home of a Senate staffer at approximately 6 a.m. Thursday morning, in a drug bust prompted by Customs and Border Protection officers in Ohio, who intercepted a 1.1-kilogram package of gamma-Butyrolactone, or GBL, bound for D.C.

Fred W. Pagan, who has worked for Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., since October 2000, allegedly confessed to ordering the GBL, a Schedule 1 controlled drug, from a business in China, and admitted he knew it was illegal. According to court documents filed in U.S. District Court, Pagan also admitted he had received three prior shipments of the drug. Full story

By Hannah Hess Posted at 4:54 p.m.
DC Crime, Staffers

April 22, 2015

As Campaigns Heat Up, Candidates Mind Senate Rules

Paul's campaign video raised questions about a Senate rule governing floor footage. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Paul’s campaign video raised questions about a Senate rule governing floor footage. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Juggling a grueling campaign schedule and work as a U.S. senator can be a daunting task for the ones running for president, but as election season picks up, they’ll also have to be mindful of the Senate rules for campaigning.

For example, speaking on the prestigious Senate floor about policies affecting the nation would be prime fodder for a campaign video, but the candidates are not allowed to use floor footage in videos — or are they? Full story

April 20, 2015

Another Schock Staffer Served Grand Jury Subpoena

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

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

Another staffer for ex-Rep. Aaron Schock has been served with a grand jury subpoena to testify as part of the investigation into the Illinois Republican’s spending.

Shea Ledford formally notified Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, of the subpoena Monday afternoon as the House gaveled into its pro forma session. According to the Legistorm database, Ledford has served as a “district special assistant” since April 2014. Full story

April 14, 2015

Johnson Reviewing Options After Obamacare Lawsuit

Johnson lawsuit

Johnson is reviewing his options after appeals court ruling. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson isn’t ruling out further challenges to the Obama administration’s treatment of members of Congress and their staff members under the Affordable Care Act.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit on Tuesday agreed with a lower court ruling that the Wisconsin Republican and his Senate counsel lacked standing because neither of them could show an injury from the Office of Personnel Management’s determination that federal employees making use of the District of Columbia’s health care exchange are eligible for employer contributions. Full story

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

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