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January 28, 2015

Posts in "Outta Here!"

January 23, 2015

Exit Interview: Matthew Leffingwell Treasures Congressional Raconteurs

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: longtime House staffer calls it quits, moves on to sweet gig in the nonprofit world. Same old story, right?

What’s different about Matthew Leffingwell’s swan song is that even though he’s joining a global powerhouse co-founded by musical royalty, the Capitol Hill vet insists he will genuinely miss hearing solons crack wise about, well, everything. Full story

January 13, 2015

Congress, at Its Most Animated, Is Always Fun to Watch

Turning a legendary chamber-clearing brawl between House Democrats and Republicans into a cartoon short not only displays “Bills and Brews” creator Matt Laslo’s brilliance in capitalizing on the gems he extracts from pols during his booze-fueled interviews, it makes him a bona fide member of some of the most colorful satirists around.

Congress, at Its Most Animated, Is Always Fun to Watch

(Screenshot)

Retired Rep. James P. Moran, D-Va., last fall laid the foundation for this fisticuff-y trip down memory lane by sharing how a handful of lawmakers dealt with disagreements back in the day.

Reducing screwy pols to mere caricatures of themselves is a time-honored tradition among those grossly dissatisfied with what does (or does not) routinely take place in the halls of Congress.

Full story

December 31, 2014

Spend New Year’s Day With Bob Ney

GOP leaders worked so hard to escape December without incident (Look, Ma! No government shutdown!), yet embarrassing revelations continue to pop up as the clock ticks down on 2014.

What better way to prepare for a fresh round of dirty laundry-airing infighting than to hear former Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, run his former colleagues through the wringer all over again.

Spend New Years Day With Bob Ney

Ney tries to get through the sea of photographers as he leaves the U.S. District Court Oct. 13, 2006 in Washington, D.C. Ney entered a guilty plea to taking bribes in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

To commemorate the 10-year anniversary of its Sunday night gabfest, “Q&A,” C-SPAN has been re-running some of the interview show’s greatest hits throughout the holidays. The Jan. 1 episode, scheduled to air at 7 p.m. EST, includes a conversation with the six-term lawmaker that fell furthest from grace as a result of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.

The 2013 replay, which took place during the promotional tour for Ney’s tell-all memoir, “Sideswiped: Lessons Learned Courtesy of the Hit Men of Capitol Hill,” appears to be timelier than ever given the career-ending hit New York Republican Michael G. Grimm’s political life has taken in recent days. Full story

December 30, 2014

The Gifts That Keep on Giving: HOH’s 2014 Faves

What a year we all just lived through!

There was election night drama, international intrigue and, of course, tearful farewells.

Keeping track of all the mayhem on Capitol Hill once again proved exhausting, thanks in large part to the concerted efforts of the following over achievers.

Rep. Michael G. Grimm, R-N.Y.

The Gifts That Keep on Giving: HOH’s 2014 Faves

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The embattled pol is a one-man gossip mill. Full story

December 19, 2014

D.C. Helps Stephen Colbert Say Goodbye

Citizens of #ThisTown were among the pop culture illuminati sending off faux conservative blowhard Stephen Colbert on the final episode of “The Colbert Report,” all to a resounding singalong of “We’ll Meet Again.”

Along with longtime collaborator Jon Stewart and the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jeff Tweedy, Cookie Monster and the dragon Smaug from “The Hobbit,” the chorus of well-wishers included:

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.

Full story

December 17, 2014

John Dingell Wraps It All Up in Holiday Jingle

Rep. John D. Dingell, the retiring dean of the House, jokingly reflects on a lifetime of public service and the current state of congressional affairs in his latest holiday greeting.

John Dingell Wraps It All Up in Holiday Jingle

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Michigan Democrat, who each winter lampoons the year that was, is concluding his tenure on the Hill after nearly 60 years. His wife, newly minted lawmaker Debbie Dingell, is set to succeed him in the 114th Congress. Full story

December 1, 2014

Contempt for Elizabeth Lauten Spreads Far and Wide

It seems that no one, or anything, is immune from the seething rage Elizabeth Lauten fomented by launching a personal attack against Sasha and Malia Obama.

The one-time spokeswoman for Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn., had to fall on her sword Monday after her widely publicized rant about teenage behavior sparked a rhetorical war that cut across racial, political and gender divides.

The presumably seasoned public relations professional — Lauten handled press for one-term tea party favorite Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois during the 112th Congress, spent a few years as “social and earned media manager” at Purple Strategies prior to that, and earlier this year launched her own shop — inspired not one (#ElizabethLauten) but two (#FireElizabethLauten) vitriol-laden threads on Twitter.

About that firm? Perhaps Lauten tapped her classics major at East Carolina University, naming it Audeamus Communications. Audeamus means “may we dare” or “may we risk” in Latin. Do with that information what you will.

In addition to exposing herself to ridicule (it didn’t take long for the hypocrisy bashing to kick in) and scorn (The Smoking Gun unearthed a decade-old shoplifting charge), Lauten’s antics suddenly made Fincher fair game.

And he wasn’t the only one caught in the mounting crossfire. Full story

Stephen Fincher Catches Shrapnel From Aide’s Attack on Obama Girls

Stephen Fincher Catches Shrapnel From Aide’s Attack on Obama Girls

Lauten reportedly resigned Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Stephen Fincher is getting blasted from all sides following the departure of a communications aide forced to eat crow over the holiday weekend after lambasting the teenage daughters of President Barack Obama.

Congressional spokeswoman Elizabeth Lauten tendered her resignation Monday, after her digital broadside against Sasha and Malia Obama sparked a virtual riot across social media. Lauten’s electrifying screed incited equally caustic critiques from the Twitterverse, an online chorus that unloaded on her, former first siblings Barbara Pierce Bush and Jenna Bush Hager, the Republican Party and race relations in the United States.

Lauten eventually walked back her unsolicited evaluation of Obama’s child-rearing abilities, but it appears the damage was already done.

Her career implosion has been so great, in fact, that the Tennessee Republican who provided her with a steady paycheck is now having his own job security called into question.

Some seem to believe he’s complicit in the POTUS-shaming drama.

Full story

November 25, 2014

Immigration Bill Killer Needs a New Home

A House Republican aide who fancies himself the straw that broke a 2013 bipartisan immigration proposal’s back is hoping one of the conservatives coming to Congress next January could use a little help from a procedural whiz.

Immigration Bill Killer Needs a New Home

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Per the plea circulated internally amongst GOP staffers, Art Harman, the legislative director most recently hitched to outgoing Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, is hoping to extend his stay here in Washington.

Although a short-timer — Harman first arrived on Capitol Hill just last year — the Stockman vet feels his particular skill set could be of use to a fellow rabble-rouser.

“Congressman Stockman credits me with having killed the 2013 Senate amnesty bill by drafting and circulating a ‘blue-slip’ letter,” Harman crows in his introductory note. “I am very interested in finding a similar position where I may continue to effectively advance the conservative agenda for a Member or committee.”

And it doesn’t sounds like he’s too picky about the next landing spot. Full story

November 4, 2014

Electoral Roller Coaster: Brace Yourself Edition

The problem with most — nay, every — campaign is that there must invariably be a winner and, pardon my French, a loser.

Assuming you and yours do wind up in the latter category this evening (or somewhere down the line), do try and make peace with whatever outcome unfolds.

Far be it from me to begrudge anyone a cathartic pity party. (Go ahead. Give that one-hit wonder Daniel Powter a final spin.)

But don’t wallow too long.

Lest you spend the rest of your days — much like these poor saps — slogging through the emotional quagmire colloquially known as the five stages of grief.

Denial and Isolation

Lying to oneself is rarely a winning proposition.

Just ask grossly disillusioned short-timer Sen. Jay Billington Bulworth. Full story

November 3, 2014

Newt, Electing for Some Downtime

With just hours to go until the Election Day buzzsaw officially rips apart half the nation’s hopes and dreams, candidates are hustling to sew up every last possible vote any which way they can.

Louisiana Republican Bill Cassidy, who is hoping to unseat Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., in what’s likely to be a down-to-the-wire challenge, was pounding the pavement in search of support.

 

 

Full story

October 31, 2014

Jim Moran Recounts Raucous Bipartisan Brawl

Cheers to Matt Laslo for getting retiring Rep. James P. Moran to open up about how incensed pols used to settle their differences in #ThisTown.

Jim Moran Recounts Raucous Bipartisan Brawl

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

During a recent sit-down with “Bills and Brews,” the Northern Virginia Democrat shared his take on what transpired after he and former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, R-Calif., got into it on the House floor.

Per Moran, fellow short-timer George Miller, D-Calif., and ex-Reps. David R. Obey, D-Wis., and Robert K. Dornan, R-Calif., all mixed it up in the ensuing scuffle.

Cunningham, who Moran said suffered a broken hand during the melee, remembered things much differently. “He sucker-punched me,” the then-lawmaker told the Los Angeles Times in late 1995.

No word on whether Cunningham fared any better in the prison yard during his time away.

Catch the whole harrowing tale — as well as Moran’s valedictory address on party politics and D.C. schools — here.

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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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.

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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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

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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