Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 31, 2014

Posts in "Drama"

October 31, 2014

Trey Radel Sheds Coke Charges

Disgraced former Rep. Trey Radel has managed to keep his nose clean. So authorities have gone ahead and made that whole nasty cocaine business disappear.

Trey Radel Sheds Coke Charges

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Per various Sunshine State news outlets, the Florida Republican has had his record expunged following the completion of a nearly yearlong probationary period stemming from his fall 2013 arrest for possession of a controlled substance.

Radel briefly flirted with the idea of serving out the remainder of his first term, but wound up up throwing in the towel after it became painfully obvious he was persona non grata on Capitol Hill.

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October 30, 2014

Jared Polis Completes Jury Duty

Rep. Jared Polis has now, officially, sat in judgment of his fellow man. The verdict: Jury duty is A-OK.

Jared Polis Completes Jury Duty

(Courtesy Jared Polis)

The Colorado Democrat Tuesday got tapped to report to Boulder County Court. He spent Wednesday hashing out the particulars of the assigned case — a minor dust-up involving ownership of a dangerous animal — with his fellow panelists.

“All of the jury members were very thoughtful, and we were unanimous in our verdict,” Polis said in an email about his vote to acquit the pet owner in question.

The sequester-free experience marked Polis’ inaugural visit to a jury box. “For all six of us, it was our first time,” he noted.

Although his schedule was predictably full (something about an election next week … ), Polis appears to have emerged from the brief stint ever-appreciative of democracy in general.

“Serving on a jury is one of those things like voting; it’s a responsibility of citizenship. Even when it’s not convenient, it’s our responsibility to our justice system and to our country,” he said via email. “It was an honor to be able to serve, even though it came at a very challenging time.”

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October 29, 2014

Two Randolph-Macon College Professors Walk Into a Debate …

The two Randolph-Macon College professors running for Virginia’s 7th District did their best Tuesday night to make sure their workplace knew they didn’t want to be there anymore.

Dave Brat, an economics professor and the surprise Republican primary winner who beat former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor this June debated with his academic colleague, Democrat Jack Trammell, an associate professor of sociology at the campus they’ve toiled together at for more than a decade.

“I see many familiar faces” here, Trammell said in his closing remarks before adding, “I miss this place [but] I’m hoping I’m not coming back.” It was sentiment echoed by Brat, that he hoped any return to the college would be as a congressman, not a professor. Randolph-Macon President Robert Lindgren said whoever loses would be welcomed back. That will likely be Trammell, as the race is rated as Safe Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

The mostly-academic tone of the debate touched on taxes, health care, immigration and the minimum wage. So much so that Brat razzed Trammell that: “If I had him in class, I’d give him an ethics paper and send him to the dean.”

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Ohio Natives Stump for James Traficant Flick

C-SPAN’s most prominent space cadet may be gone. But a handful of still-spellbound Ohioans — including Rep. Tim Ryan — simply cannot stop talking about larger-than-life former lawmaker James A. Traficant Jr.

Ohio Natives Stump for James Traficant Flick

Traficant (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Fledgling filmmaker Eric Murphy attempts to deconstruct the unbelievable life of the late Ohio Democrat in his evolving documentary, “Traficant: The Congressman of Crimetown.”

The long-running project, which Murphy hatched roughly half a decade ago, aims to shine a light on the two mindboggling chapters of Traficant’s career: His meteoric rise as the mob-baiting sheriff of Youngstown, Ohio, who later beat an FBI-led bribery sting, followed by his arrival on Capitol Hill and subsequent fall from grace due to a fresh set of corruption charges.

Murphy has taken to Kickstarter to raise the capital required to sew up the mostly finished flick (he wants to add music and do some polishing); with over a month to go on his fundraising campaign, Murphy is more than half-way toward reaching the $17,500 goal posted online. Full story

October 27, 2014

We Were Told There Would Be No (Fundraising) Math

There’s just a week and a day to go until Election Day, which means we may be able to save our inbox from fundraising spam hell in just a few short days.

Although HOH tries desperately to pay politics no mind, activists from across the ideological spectrum continuously flood our email (just like yours) with panic-ridden pleas for just enough cash to save a candidate from professional doom if we just ACT NOW!

This year’s midterm elections are shaping up to be a down-to-the-wire contest, with control of the Senate very much in play. A potential downgrade to minority status has a handful of Senate Democrats on high alert, perhaps none more so than Mark Pryor. Full story

October 22, 2014

Bobby McKenzie Slams ‘Foreclosure King’ in New Campaign Spot

Democrat Bobby McKenzie utilizes an age-old TV favorite — the (overly) dramatic re-enactment — to shame Republican primary winner David Trott for making a buck off financially distressed Michiganders.

The new ad, which Team McKenzie began broadcasting Wednesday in the Detroit market, continues a line of attack the Freedom’s Defense Fund political action committee employed (unsucessfully) against Trott earlier this year to try and save Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, R-Mich., from becoming a short-timer.

McKenzie one-ups FDF’s static recapping of the 2011 eviction of the now-late Texana Hollis, a centenarian who was forced out of her home on behalf of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (Trott & Trott handled part of the deal), by showing a pair of shadowy thugs bursting through a defenseless old lady’s door and rolling the confused, wheelchair-bound invalid right out onto the street.

Full story

October 17, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Best of Don Young (Video)

As election season rolls on, Heard on the Hill pays tribute to Rep. Don Young, the self-described “alpha wolf” of Alaska politics who loves cranes, beanies and the Anchorage Daily News.

Related:

Don Young: the Kodiak Bear of Capitol Hill

The Softer Side of Don Young: A Counterpoint

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October 16, 2014

Bob Casey Campaigning for FIFA to Kick Qatar to the Curb

As part of his effort to shed light on allegations of corruption in FIFA, the soccer world’s governing body, Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., appeared on the Men in Blazers podcast Wednesday to talk about an unreleased report on the bidding process surrounding the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Bob Casey Campaigning for FIFA to Kick Qatar to the Curb

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“I think anyone would hope when you have an investigation like that, that it is on the public record so that anybody can see what the investigation yielded,” Casey said.

Casey wrote to FIFA president Sepp Blatter earlier this month asking for the release of the report, which was authored by former U.S. Attorney Mike Garcia, after Blatter said that FIFA would not release it.

“If anything, the latest actions raise even more questions about the voting for 2022 as well as 2018,” Casey said. “Obviously the U.S. has a vested interest, but even apart from that I think it is an issue of … great concern.

His comments come after he wrote to Blatter In June, calling on FIFA to strip the 2022 World Cup from Qatar because of allegations of harsh labor practices. The 2018 World Cup was awarded to Russia.

The U.S. bid to host both the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, and came in second behind Qatar for the 2022 cup. Full story

September 29, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Best of James Traficant (Video)

Following his death Saturday, Heard on the Hill pays tribute to the colorful career of James A. Traficant Jr., who regularly reminded C-SPAN audiences of manure studies, his “weed-whacker” hair and his ability to kick liars in the crotch.

Related:

James Traficant Dies Following Tractor Accident

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September 19, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of September 15 (Video)

With Congress set to leave for seven weeks, members spent their final work week forgetting names, talking baseball and discussing the bad food at their uncle’s house.

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Michele Bachmann Asks Al Franken to Help Defeat Al Franken

Michele Bachmann Asks Al Franken to Help Defeat Al Franken

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Michele Bachmann wants Sen. Al Franken to make a campaign contribution — to defeat Al Franken.

The retiring Minnesota Republican congresswoman’s campaign fundraising pitch for her home state’s GOP Senate candidate Mike McFadden reached the personal residence of Franken in Minneapolis, according to a copy of the mailer obtained by HOH.

Full story

September 18, 2014

Sports Stars’ Stumbles Spark Fresh Round of ‘Slam the Solons’

As if engineering new ways to kinda-sorta green light foreign wars without getting booted out of office in a few weeks weren’t stressful enough, elected officials must once again — thanks to wildly inappropriate behavior by marquee athletes — contend with age-old accusations about everything that’s wrong with Capitol Hill.

The rapid succession of domestic scandals that have upended the careers of professional running backs Ray Rice (aggravated assault) of the Baltimore Ravens, and Adrian Peterson (indicted for child abuse) of the Minnesota Vikings appears to have stirred up anti-congressional sentiments, leading to the reappearance of a meme designed to highlight pols’ absolutely worst qualities.

 

Sports Stars’ Stumbles Spark Fresh Round of Slam the Solons

(Screenshot)

 

Per the urban myth slayers at Snopes, the original laundry list of political loserdom was most likely distilled from a five-part series called “Congress: America’s Criminal Class” which Capital Hill Blue unveiled in 1999.  Six years later, the muckraking website revisited the myriad personal and professional shortcomings documented in the original expose and found a governing body still rife with human imperfection.

Team Snopes had a lot of issues with the original barrage, citing content ranging from distressingly vague (“the original publisher has steadfastly declined to provide any documentation for these claims”) to borderline absurd (“they would have no way of knowing how many members of Congress had been stopped for traffic violations without being cited”).

None of that, however, Team Snopes suggests, has halted armchair critics from subbing in the target du jour (British Parliament, the NFL, etc.) to get their preferred point across.

 

Sports Stars’ Stumbles Spark Fresh Round of Slam the Solons

(CQ Roll Call Photo Illustration)

Making up horror stories about Congress seems like such an incredible waste of time.

Their real-life misdeeds are so much more engrossing:

The war at home

  • Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C.: Love’s labor’s lost.
  • Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla.: Perfect strangers
  • Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn.: Do as I say, not as I do.

Sexcapades

  • Rep. Vance McAllister, R-La.: Your cheating heart
  • Ex-Rep. Mel Reynolds, D-Ill.: Does not compute.
  • Ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y.: Danger is his middle name.

Self-destructive tendencies

  • Rep. Michael G. Grimm, R-N.Y.: Give me somethin’ to break.
  • Ex-Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla.: You holding?
  • Ex-Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr., D-Ill.: Shopaholic

Questionable judgment

  • Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas: Rules are for suckers.
  • Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga.: What, me worry?
  • Sen. John Walsh, D-Mont.: Don’t quote me on that.

Meanwhile, at least one incensed lawmaker is refusing to let the badly bruised NFL off the hook.

 

 

Guess that means the ball’s in your court, Web trolls.

Related:

Female Senators Write Letter to Goodell, Want NFL to Adopt ‘Zero-Tolerance’ Policy

Blumenthal Floats Changes to NFL Antitrust Exemption (Video)

Critics of Washington Team Name Target NFL Nonprofit Status (Video)

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September 5, 2014

S’moresgate Engulfs Forest Service

Looking to light a fire under conservatives? Just try and tell ’em how to ingest flaming confections.

So learned a U.S. Forest Service aide after incensed Web readers — and later House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — got all fired up about an administration-penned blog post suggesting Americans keep fire safety in mind whilst observing National Toasted Marshmallow Day.

“For the things that government is supposed to do — like confront terrorist groups — we don’t have a strategy, but for things Americans are supposed to be able to do for themselves — like figuring out the best ingredients for s’mores — government bureaucrats have that figured out,” the California Republican fumed in his latest floor agenda update.

Online critics got even hotter under the collar, torching the regulatory guidelines involved, the tone of the public service announcement and the writer’s language skills.

 

S’moresgate Engulfs Forest Service

(Screenshot)

 

S’moresgate Engulfs Forest Service

(Screenshot)

 

S’moresgate Engulfs Forest Service

(Screenshot)

 

A couple of fans rallied to the Forest Service’s cause, chastising rhetorical bomb throwers for needlessly politicizing a friendly reminder. Full story

July 22, 2014

John Dingell Stumped by Kardashian Craze

Rep. John D. Dingell has spent nearly 24 hours trying to wrap his head around the dizzying world of celebutantes. And it ain’t working.

After being stumped by a seemingly random tweet from someone at the Environmental Protection Agency — which has, of course, since been scrubbed from existence — trumpeting their standing in reality TV star Kim Kardashian’s nascent iPhone-friendly time-suck, the Michigan Democrat apparently turned to staff for a crash course in all things O. J. Simpson’s-former-lawyer’s-since-remarried-wife’s-brood’s plans to prove Andy Warhol wrong.

(Et tu, EPA?)

Team Dingell did not respond to queries regarding whether the debrief on the reigning tabloid queen/bride of hip-hop mogul Kanye West/mother of North West included “A Clockwork Orange”-like screening of TMZ clips, binge-watching of E!’s burgeoning Kardashian-centric programming (have the pets been given shows yet?) or a quick flip-through men’s magazines.

 

 

It’s obvious, however, that the pop culture cram session clearly didn’t take. Full story

John Mica’s Makeover Plans Ain’t Gonna Happen

If Rep. John L. Mica had his way, a lot of people who currently inhabit some of the most cherry spots on the House side of the Capitol would be looking for new places to hang their hats come November.

“It’s something that we need to look at in the next Congress, … opening up more of these historic spaces,” the Florida Republican told HOH about his quest to carve out additional meeting rooms and reception areas for entertainment-minded lawmakers.

Per Mica, the current crop of reservation-required options is woefully limited to the Speaker’s Dining Room (H-122) and the Henry J. Hyde Room (H-139).

John Mica’s Makeover Plans Ain’t Gonna Happen

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

By comparison, Mica noted that senators have access to the cavernous Lyndon Baines Johnson (S-211) and Mike Mansfield (S-207) rooms. “We don’t have those equivalents. And we should,” he argued. Full story

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