Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 28, 2014

Posts in "Staffers"

November 26, 2014

Report Outlines Constituent Meeting Do’s and Don’ts

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Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., talks with a constituent in between events in Baltimore. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Constituent participation is the key to scheduling meetings on Capitol Hill, according to a new report from the Congressional Management Foundation.

“Our number one factor in scheduling a meeting is if a constituent is in the group,” one House scheduler wrote in an anonymous survey by CMF. “Constituents from our district take top priority over any other type of request.”

The CMF’s 15-page report, released Nov. 20 and titled “Face to Face with Congress: Before, During, and After Meetings With Legislators,” is based on nearly 450 responses from legislative staff surveys conducted between 2010 and 2013. It details advice for scheduling, conducting, and following up after meetings with congressional staff. Full story

November 24, 2014

Two Veteran Capitol Hill Staffers Honored for Leadership

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Hawkings, left, and Evans, right, were honored last week. Pomerantz, center, won the award in 2012. (Photo courtesy of the Stennis Center for Public Service Leadership)

Two veteran Hill Staffers have been recognized for their commitment to public service and their leadership at a reception last week in the Capitol Building.

Bruce Evans, chief of staff for Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., and Betsy Wright Hawkings, chief of staff for Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., received the William E. “Eph” Cresswell Congressional Staff Leadership Award from the Stennis Center for Public Service on Nov. 19. (Hawkings is married to Roll Call Senior Editor, David Hawkings.)

To be nominated for the award, which is given out once per Congress, a Hill staffer must have served at least 10 years in Congress, display effective leadership skills and work across the aisle. A member of Congress or a Senior John C. Stennis Congressional Staff Fellow can nominate a staffer, and the winners are selected by a committee of Stennis fellows.

David Pomerantz, the House Appropriations Committee’s Democratic staff director, received the first Cresswell award in 2012. The award’s namesake served as the chief of staff for the late Sen. John C. Stennis, D-Miss., and was a former chairman of the Stennis Center Board of Trustees. According to its website, the Stennis Center for Public Service is a legislative branch agency established in 1988 “to promote and strengthen publish service leadership in America.”

Roll Call Results Map: Results and District Profiles for Every Seat

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November 12, 2014

Pack Up Your Troubles: Members Begin Moving Out

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Eskandani, left, Weiss, right, Aimee Wall and David Uhlich from the Bancroft Library at the University of California Berkeley, check out posters while packing up Miller’s office. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

What does one do with 24 golden bulldogs?

“I’m trying to find homes for these things,” said Ed McDonald, chief of staff for retiring Rep. Howard Coble, describing the fiscal conservative awards the North Carolina Republican has acquired over the years. McDonald is packing up 30 years worth of memorabilia and documents before a different lawmaker moves into the Rayburn office.

While members of Congress who lost on Election Day are faced with the unpleasant task of packing up their belongings and moving out, other staffers who work for retiring members, and members who lost their primaries, have been packing up their offices for months. Full story

November 6, 2014

Tight-Knit Illinois Democrats Mourning Again, This Time for Lane Evans

Evans1 415x330 Tight Knit Illinois Democrats Mourning Again, This Time for Lane Evans

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s been a rough year for western Illinois Democrats. On Wednesday, former Rep. Lane Evans, a Rock Island native who represented the 17th District for 12 terms, died at the age of 63. His death is one of three recently for a tightly connected political group.

Evans, who suffered from Parkinson’s Disease, died in East Moline at an assisted living center, the Quad City Times reported.  Illinois lawmakers were quick to release statements about Evans, a Marine who made taking care of veterans a hallmark of his public service. Rep. Cheri Bustos, the Democrat who represents the 17th District, said “Lane will be sorely missed by all who he touched but his legacy of service will never be forgotten.” Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, who was first elected to the House the same year as Evans, in 1982, closed his statement with Evans’ long-time campaign slogan, “Thank heavens for Lane Evans.”

The loss of Evans comes on the heels of the deaths of Bustos’ father, Gene Callahan, who died on Aug. 4, and former Sen. Alan J. Dixon, who died on July 6. The connections among Bustos, Callahan, Dixon and Durbin run deep.

Callahan became close to Durbin when Callahan was chief of staff for the late Sen. Paul Simon, D-Ill., another popular downstate Illinois politician. Callahan also worked for Simon before he was elected to the Senate, when he was lieutenant governor.

Durbin also worked for Simon when he was lieutenant governor. Callahan went on to work as Dixon’s chief of staff in the Senate until 1992, when Dixon lost re-election. After Callahan’s death, Durbin said in a statement that “I never made an important decision in my political life without calling Gene.”

Bustos got to know Evans when she was a reporter for the Quad City Times. She followed in the footsteps of both her father and Simon, journalists who later went into public service. Bustos weathered the GOP wave Tuesday, forming another link to Evans, who was frequently targeted in his district but always found a way to win until retiring in 2006.

Related:

Gene Callahan, Father of Rep. Bustos and Former Senate Chief of Staff, Dies at 80

An Appreciation of Alan Dixon

Former Sen. Alan Dixon’s Memoir Provides Unvarnished Story

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‘HillVets’ Pub Crawl to Benefit Homeless Children

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HillVets wants to collect coats for kids at the D.C. General Homeless Shelter. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A group of congressional staffers who served in the military are hoping to use attention focused on them this Veterans Day weekend to bring fellow veterans together and give back to their Capitol Hill community.

On Friday “HillVets,” a group of Capitol Hill staffers who are also veterans, will host its second annual “Vets 4 Kids Coat Crawl” to collect coats and raise money to buy coats for children at the D.C. General Homeless Shelter.

The “Coat Crawl” is a pub crawl to three Capitol Hill watering holes that kicks off at 5:30 p.m. Attendees can bring a children’s coat or make a monetary donation, and will receive tickets for a beer at each restaurant. A participant who donates $40 will also receive a signed copy of “March,” the graphic novel by Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. Full story

October 15, 2014

Obamacare Lawsuit Challenges Congress’ ‘Small Business’ Status

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DC Health Link enrollment under attack. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The conservative group Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit Wednesday alleging that members of Congress and congressional staffers who enrolled in health care via the D.C. small business exchange did so illegally.

At a press conference at the National Press Club Wednesday, Judicial Watch claimed the House and Senate should not have been classified as small businesses in the health care exchange. The group said the classification violated D.C. law, which characterizes small businesses as those with fewer than 50 employees.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton pointed to documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, showing House and Senate applications to the D.C. Exchange Authority categorized the institutions as small businesses with 45 employees.

“The documents we obtained from D.C. Health Exchange show that every member of Congress who has enrolled in Obamacare has obtained their insurance coverage — and any taxpayer subsidies — through fraud,” Fitton said Wednesday.

When asked for a comment on the lawsuit’s charges, a spokesperson for the D.C. Health Benefit Exchange Authority said, “We cannot comment on pending litigation.” Full story

September 30, 2014

Ethics Office Finds Evidence Petri Violated House Rules

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Petri will get a look, says the House Ethics Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House Ethics Committee announced on Tuesday it will continue to investigate whether Rep. Tom Petri, R-Wis., used his position in Congress to help certain companies in which he held significant financial interest.

But that’s the last the public will likely hear of the investigation.

Petri is retiring at the end of the 113th Congress, at which time the committee’s purview to probe his alleged misconduct will expire. And with Congress in recess until after the midterm elections, members of the panel have little time to act before the 17-term lawmaker’s last day on Capitol Hill. Full story

September 25, 2014

Ebola Containment Equipment Gets Capitol Hill Debut

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Kinzinger helped coordinate an Illinois company’s visit with health officials. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A patient isolation chamber suited for the front lines of the fight against Ebola in West Africa arrived Tuesday on the third floor of the Rayburn House Office building.

Congressional aides watched the portable unit, which weighs 35 pounds and has up to 10 hours of battery life, inflate atop a table in the room normally used for subcommittee hearings of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. They reached their hands into the eight glove “arms” around the unit, and examined the ports used for medical tubing.

The portable patient isolation chamber is a tool that “really isn’t being deployed right now,” said Zach Hunter, spokesman for Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who worked in conjunction with a fellow Illinois Republican, Sen. Mark S. Kirk, to bring the Romeoville, Ill., company that manufactures the product to Capitol Hill. Full story

September 18, 2014

Hill Staffers Hear Advice for Hiring Veterans

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Sen. Lindsey Graham greets wounded soldiers from Walter Reed Army Medical Center as they arrive for a lunch in the Senate in April 2010. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Two representatives from the Wounded Warrior Project addressed a group of Capitol Hill staffers in Dirksen Senate Office Building Thursday to offer suggestions for hiring wounded veterans and accommodating those veterans in the workplace.

Brett Sheets and Brian Nichols, veterans of the Army and Navy respectively, work for WWP’s Warriors to Work program, which provides career advice to wounded post-9/11 veterans transitioning to civilian life.

The two WWP representatives offered a number of recommendations for offices looking to hire veterans. Full story

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.

Related:

McAllister Moving Past ‘Kissing Congressman’

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

The 10 Most Vulnerable House Members

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