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August 28, 2015

Posts in "Staffers"

August 19, 2015

Ex-Cochran Aide Pleads Guilty to Drug Conspiracy

UNITED STATES - JULY 9: Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., heads to the Senate floor for a vote on Wednesday, July 9, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Cochran heads to the Senate floor for a vote on July 9. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The former aide to Mississippi GOP Sen. Thad Cochran who was arrested as part of a sex-for-drugs scheme pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiring to distribute methamphetamine.

Fred Pagan, 49, admitted in federal court just a few blocks from the Capitol that from February until he was arrested in April, he participated in a scheme to possess and distribute meth and assist others in possessing the drug.

On April 23, Homeland Security Investigations agents raided Pagan’s home in Northwest D.C. after law enforcement intercepted a package of the date rape drug gamma-Butyrolactone, or GBL, which was shipped to the address from China. During the raid, the agents also discovered meth in a tightly wrapped package in a binder underneath his bed. In earlier court documents, Pagan allegedly told authorities he had planned to elicit sexual favors in exchange for the GBL and the meth.

Pagan was originally charged with one count of possession and intent to distribute and one count of importing a controlled substance. In April, he pleaded not guilty to the charges, and attorneys indicated in July that a plea deal was in the works.

But Wednesday, Pagan pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute. U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Pearlman declined to comment as he exited the hearing. And a spokesperson for the U.S. attorney’s office also declined to comment on the change in charges, citing an ongoing investigation.

Pagan and defense attorney Kobie A. Flowers did not comment as they left the courtroom following the plea hearing, which lasted around 30 minutes. During the proceedings, the gray-haired Pagan stood solemnly as he responded to U.S District Judge Beryl A. Howell’s questions about his guilty plea.

In questions about his competency, Pagan revealed has been receiving treatment for a meth addiction and takes daily medication. “I feel good,” Pagan said when asked if the medication affected him. “That’s what the medication does for me.”

According to court documents, Pagan admitted to knowingly and willfully conspiring “with other persons both known and unknown” to distribute, and possess with intent to distribute, meth. The U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment on whether the revelation of a conspiracy  or that Pagan was working with other individuals  indicated there would be further arrests in the case.

The statement of offenses obtained, which Pagan agreed to as part of his plea, cites two other individuals involved in the scheme, only identified as “Co-Conspirator 1″ and “Co-Conspirator 2.” According to the court documents, Pagan used meth from at least November 2014 until April 2015.

In February 2015, Pagan agreed to obtain meth from “CC1″ which was shipped to Pagan via “CC2.” Pagan allegedy received one package of meth in February and four in March. He and CC1 arranged for CC1 to pick up the packages at Pagan’s home, since the co-conspirator “in part wanted to avoid detection” for too many packages going to his or her residence.  Pagan was allegedly aware CC1 distributed meth to other individuals and also drove CC1 to the airport on at least two occasions where CC1 “traveled in part to obtain methamphetamine.”

Though there was no mention in the hearing of the date rape drug that prompted the federal raid, the statement of offense did address the GBL. According to the document, Pagan admitted to ordering GBL and to doing so on at least two other occasions. He also admitted to using GBL and sometimes selling meth to friends.

The arrest cost Pagan his job, where he earned around $160,000 annually working as Cochran’s personal assistant and office administrator, according to the LegiStorm database. Cochran’s office dismissed Pagan on May 15, after he spent decades working for the Mississippi Republican. Pagan, a native of Jackson, Mich., first came to the Senate as a page for Cochran when he was 16 years old, and essentially never left. He reportedly finished his high school degree while continuing to work for Cochran, and confirmed in court Wednesday that he did not earn a college degree.

By pleading guilty to the felony offense, Pagan faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1 million. He also could receive a term of supervised release of a minimum of three years and up to life. Pagan also agreed to pay a “special assessment” of $100 per felony conviction.

Pagan was released under the same prior conditions that he continue treatment and return to court. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for Oct. 30.

Related:

Former Cochran Staffer Hopes for Plea Deal in Sex-for-Drugs Case

Senate Aide Pleads ‘Not Guilty’ to Drug Charges

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

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August 4, 2015

Marine Corps Fellow Arrested for Having Gun on Capitol Grounds

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 6:35 p.m. | Capitol Police arrested a member of the Marine Corps congressional fellowship program Tuesday afternoon for having a loaded gun on congressional property.

Gunnery Sergeant Peter Boby was arrested after officers discovered loaded .45 caliber handgun in his vehicle during a routine vehicle inspection outside of the Rayburn House Office Building. USCP spokesperson Lt. Kimberly A. Schneider said in a statement, “At approximately 2:00 pm today at Washington Avenue and C Street, SW, USCP officers were conducting administrative security screening required for entry into the secure perimeter.  Officers discovered a loaded .45 caliber handgun in a vehicle.” Full story

Second Hill Langar Raises Awareness About Sikh Faith

(Photo by Les Talusan/SALDEF)

(Courtesy Les Talusan/SALDEF)

For the second time on Capitol Hill, staffers, lawmakers and citizens gathered in the Rayburn foyer, removed their shoes, donned orange head scarves and participated in a centuries-old Sikh tradition.

The second “Langar on the Hill” recently drew roughly 350 people for the tradition centered around equality, in which attendees sit on the floor and share a meal regardless of racial or socioeconomic barriers. Attendees covered their heads with orange scarves and removed their shoes, reflecting practices for entering a Sikh temple, also known as a gurdwara.

Full story

August 3, 2015

Norton Looks to Extend Workplace Protection to Congress’ Staff

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., announced Friday she plans to introduce legislation to extend workplace protections and civil rights laws to congressional employees.

“If Congress, our nationally elected legislature, is not yet a workplace where workplace laws are fully applied, how can Congress sit in judgment of public and private employers who must comply with the full complement of laws?” Norton asked in her statement announcing the bill. Full story

July 31, 2015

Whistleblower Day, but Not for Hill Staff

Wyden, Grassley and McCaskill are all founding members of the Whistleblower Protection Caucus. (CQ Roll Call File Photo).

Wyden, Grassley and McCaskill are all founding members of the Whistleblower Protection Caucus. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate approved a resolution Thursday declaring July 30, 2015, “National Whistleblower Appreciation Day,” though senators’ own staffers are not afforded the same protections as other federal workers.

On the same day, the Office of Compliance, which oversees workplace complaints and safety issues around the Capitol, released its annual report for fiscal 2014. Among the recommendations was extending whistleblower protections to congressional employees. Full story

July 30, 2015

Lawmakers Look to Enhance Unpaid Intern Protections

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Democrats introduced three bills to protect interns from sexual harassment and discrimination Tuesday, notably extending protections to the scores of interns in congressional offices.

“It is unacceptable that employees and interns working right next to each other have different levels of protection against abuse,” said Oversight and Government Reform ranking Democrat Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland. “There should be no legal gray area when we are talking about preventing sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace.” Full story

July 23, 2015

Senate Panel OKs 10-Year Credit-Monitoring for Hacked Workers

Mikulski offered two OPM amendments. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Mikulski offered two OPM amendments. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A Senate panel approved enhanced protections for the more than 22 million federal workers and retirees affected by data breaches at the Office of Personnel Management Thursday, but opted not to provide additional funds for the embattled agency.

The Senate Appropriations Committee, by voice vote, agreed to adopt more protections for federal workers and retirees whose information was stolen in two breaches at OPM, by attaching a provision to the appropriations bill with jurisdiction over the agency. But lawmakers also opted, by voice vote, not to provide additional money to OPM. Full story

July 10, 2015

Capitol Evaluates Own Cybersecurity After OPM Hack

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As news broke that data breaches at the Office of Personnel Management affected more than 22 million people, Senate staffers received a notice from the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms about the chamber’s own cybersecurity.

“As a result of recent data breaches in other areas of government, a reassessment of our cybersecurity posture was implemented,” read the Thursday email obtained by CQ Roll Call. The message then described updates to logging into the Senate’s Web VPN service, or workers’ remote access to their Senate accounts. Full story

Former Cochran Staffer Hopes for Plea Deal in Sex-for-Drugs Case

A federal judge on Friday granted attorneys more time for the case of a 49-year-old man who spent decades working for Sen. Thad Cochran, starting with a stint as the Mississippi Republican’s page, before serious drug charges related to methamphetamine and date rape drugs cost him his career.

Fred W. Pagan pleaded not guilty on April 29 to charges of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and importation of a controlled substance, after allegedly confessing plans to distribute both drugs “in exchange for sexual favors.” U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell continued the case until Aug. 7, with attorneys hinting a plea deal may be in the works. Full story

July 9, 2015

More Than 22 Million Affected by OPM Hack

OPM Director Katherine Archuleta. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

OPM Director Katherine Archuleta. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

According to the Office of Personnel Management, the number of people affected by recent data breaches at the agency is more than 22 million people.

Roughly 4.2 million federal employees were affected by the first data breach, and more than 3.6 million of those employees were also affected by a second data breach of background investigation information, along with 17.9 million other current, former and prospective employees.
Full story

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