Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 30, 2014

Posts in "ScandalFaced"

April 28, 2014

No Joke: ‘Compared to What’ Edutains New Wave of Barney Frank Fans (Video)

No Joke: ‘Compared to What’ Edutains New Wave of Barney Frank Fans (Video)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

NEW YORK — Flying directly in the face of confidence-draining legislative dysfunction and abysmally low congressional approval ratings, the few hundred Tribeca Film Festival fans who joined ex-Rep. Barney Frank for the emotional roller coaster ride of reliving his past came out on the other side laughing, cheering and feeling a whole helluva lot better about our elected officials.

In reality, the new documentary (“Compared to What”) surrounding the retired Massachusetts Democrat’s final year in Congress covers all the bases — the meteoric rise to power, career-threatening scandals and hard-won happy ending — of a soapy political drama.

Many of the folks who converged on the School of Visual Arts Theatre on Sunday here in Chelsea didn’t make the trip to gawk at the skeletons in Frank’s closet or revel in partisan warfare.

If anything, several attendees came searching for a glimpse into what makes the once and future comeback king of Capitol Hill tick.

“I want to know more about him,” Carmen Hendershott, a self-described liberal, said of her sudden interest in the retired pol. “I’m aware that Barney Frank is a stand-up, liberal politician. And I came here two hours early to get a seat.”

No Joke: ‘Compared to What’ Edutains New Wave of Barney Frank Fans (Video)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The 40-year-plus resident of New York City hinted that she was “just getting into him,” but liked what she’d seen and heard so far.

“I think that in these times what people really want is to have hope,” Hendershott suggested. “Because things are so bad that if you find somebody who has integrity and who has stood up for things that needed to be defended, it makes you hope that perhaps others will. Or that perhaps the small things that you do can make a difference.”

“People still keep fighting. But, of course, with Citizens United you get Republicans burying any worthy candidate in a sea of money for the opponent. And you can’t have a democracy that way,” she argued, laying the blame for our alarmingly fractured political system squarely at the feet of the Supreme Court of the United States. Full story

Keep the Crises Coming — Flack For Dan Synder!

Dust off those resumes, Capitol Hill communicators looking to jump off the rapidly sinking ships floating around Congress: Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder needs YOUR help flogging his perennially basement-dwelling squad.

That’s right, the most vehemently despised D.C. sports team owner in recent history — amassing only a handful of playoff appearances over the past 15 seasons and struggling to reach .500 most years, which has taken its toll on even diehard fans — is on the hunt for a social media coordinator.

The Dream Job of the Week” laundry-lists a host of technobabbley responsibilities (“drive member-generated content;” “add value to social sites”) but neglects to mention all the little extras that should prove as disruptive, if not more so, than your typical congressional scandal.

The roster of heartburn-stoking carryovers includes:

  • Management’s refusal to amend the team name amidst ongoing protests by offended Native American groups (and frequent tongue lashings from fed-up lawmakers);
  • Picking fights with local press;
  • Shamelessly exploiting the cheerleading staff;
  • Brazenly squeezing every last dollar possible out of unsuspecting fans

Dealing with the constant drama should come second nature to Hill staffers who’ve grown accustomed to simply waiting for the other shoe to drop.

We imagine everyone in the office of embattled Rep. Michael G. Grimm, R-N.Y., is completely psyched to ride out the 20-count indictment handed down earlier today.

And what aspiring professional wouldn’t want to stick around and see how short-timer Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, weathers a swirling ethics inquiry? (Bonus points to anyone who stays put if Stockman decides to go AWOL again.)

Why wait for the kiss-off six months from now from Rep. Vance McAllister, R-La.— who has officially thrown in the towel after getting caught canoodling with his district scheduler — when you can spend all summer sweating bullets contemplating how the Skins will shoot themselves in the foot this pre-season?

Or perhaps someone in the office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., could just use a break from cutting and pasting the phrase “Koch brothers” into every single statement that comes down the pike:

Regardless of your reasons, run — don’t walk — into The Danny’s open arms.

A job this sweet nerve-wracking is unlikely to roll around again anytime soon. Unless, of course, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling puts out the call for a new spin doctor.

Reviews in for Grimm’s Healthalicious, and They’re Not Good

Rep. Michael G. Grimm is in a heap of trouble over his involvement in the New York City restaurant Healthalicious, a fast-food joint on the Upper East Side he operated before being elected to Congress. The feds have indicted him over what they say are unsavory payroll practices.

Good thing customer satisfaction wasn’t factored into the equation, because there’s a long trail of unhappy patrons.

Yelp’s most recent reviews paint a picture of high prices, mediocre food and questionable sanitation. Jordan K. of Manhattan, last week bemoaned price — “$30 on 2 salads once” — but said the “food tastes pretty fresh whenever I get it. I keep going back, so that’s something.” That less-than-ringing endorsement is about as good as it gets.

Caitlin H. from Manhattan wrote in March: “Horribly limp, watery and incredibly disappointing 10 dollar Caesar salad. … The only saving grace was the Parmesan cheese. … That is all I ate.”

In February, Sheila S. of Manhattan advised, “Don’t Go There … The guy who was preparing my salad was using one hand to prepare it and the other hand to pick his nose. No gloves. Then both hands reached toward my salad but I couldn’t tell if he was touching it with his hands or a kitchen utensil as the counter blocked my view. DISGUSTING. I will never go there again.”

Other user review sites, such as Menu Pages, are less than kind. An anonymous reviewer, perhaps concerned he or she could be thrown off a balcony if true identity was verified, said back in January: “Not good. I would not let anyone in my family eat here again.”

Scandal-tinged sites tend to attract the curious. But consider yourself forewarned, tourists: If you must go see Grimmalicous, don’t eat.

 

Related Stories:

GOP Could Be Stuck With Grimm, Despite Expected Indictment

Grimm Expected to Be Indicted

Bill Maher’s Audience Targets Grimm, Farenthold

Capitol Journalists Opt to Lay Rep. Grimm’s Threat to Rest

Michael Grimm Threatens to Throw Reporter Off Balcony (Video)

April 25, 2014

Hark! C-SPAN (User Generated Content) Gets Harkin’s Name Wrong

We all get it wrong once in a while, even our friends at C-SPAN. Sen. Tom Harkin? or Tom Harken? Eh, he’s retiring anyway.

C-SPAN was quick to point out (and we mean quick!) that the following came from “a user-created clip … not created by C-SPAN” and noted that they “don’t edit clips created by the public.” Still, guys: It’s on your website.

Hark! C SPAN (User Generated Content) Gets Harkins Name Wrong

(Screenshot)

So consider this a public service announcement about the perils of user-generated content. Perhaps the new C-SPAN tagline could be amended to read, “Created by cable — and random video editors.”

April 15, 2014

Web Comic Riffs on Jim Moran’s Plea for Higher Pay

Internet celeb Remy Munasifi has worked up a new tax day ditty ridiculing wasteful government spending, tedious filing practices and a certain Virginia pol’s pitch to have Uncle Sam slip lawmakers a few extra bucks.

In his latest bid to again strike viral gold, the right-leaning comedian twists Pharell’s smash hit “Happy” into an anthem for those beset by paying their fair share.

One of the talking heads featured in the video is ID’ed as Rep. Jim Moranmor — a none-too-veiled-shot at Virginia Democratic Rep. James P. Moran, who recently told our colleague, Hannah Hess, that Congress-folk can no longer afford to live in This Town.

“We are so underpaid,” the Moranmor character mutters as the song begins to trail off. Full story

April 14, 2014

Frazier Glenn Cross Has Long Had His Sights Set on Capitol Hill

Frazier Glenn Cross, the man suspected of killing two people on Sunday at a Jewish community center in Overland Park, Kan., has been trying to hitch a ride to Washington on the racial purity ticket for decades.

Cross’s purported hate crime rattled a nation still reeling from the April 2 shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, a nightmarish scenario that once again featured a disturbed service man — the late Army Spc. Ivan Lopez orchestrated the most recent outbreak of violence, whereas Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hassan took over a dozen lives in November 2009 — ambushing unsuspecting colleagues.

A former Ku Klux Klan activist who later founded the exclusionary White Patriot Party, Cross has repeatedly — and rather unsuccessfully — tried to bring others around to his peculiar way of thinking.

Some online outlets suggest the perennial write-in candidate has been at it since 1984; he has, luckily, never gained significant traction in any contest.

He mounted an unsuccessful attempt to unseat then-Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., in 2006, as well as a failed bid in 2010 (Cross received just seven votes) to replace retiring Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond, R-Mo. Full story

April 10, 2014

Vance McAllister’s Dalliance With the English Language

Sure, he’s canoodler-in-chief NOW. But just a few short months ago, Rep. Vance McAllister was just another tongue-tied candidate spewing out muddled policy positions on social media.

Just days before the special election that would help bring the lip-locking Louisiana Republican to Washington, McAllister hit his Facebook flock with this doozy of a diatribe (mis)spelling out his positions on family, the Affordable Care Act, immigration and the federal budget.

Vance McAllisters Dalliance With the English Language

(CQ Roll Call photo illustration)

Somewhere in the middle of that 340-odd word, run-on sentence (Grammar police, ho!) McAllister demands that the undocumented get with the program already and learn to “read, write, and speak English.”

Eschewing punctuation, however, does not appear to be a deal breaker in McAllisterland.

Online detractors, meanwhile, have a few choice words of their own for Capitol Hill’s cheater du jour:

Vance McAllisters Dalliance With the English Language

(Screenshot)

Full story

April 8, 2014

A Crash Course in Congressional Hanky-Panky

An offbeat observation by someone who sounded none-too-surprised to learn that Louisiana Republican Rep. Vance McAllister had been busted getting busy with a congressional aide got us thinking about whom, exactly, Capitol Hill playboys spend their time seducing.

“It’s always the schedulers,” an HOH reader opined online after perusing the tawdry tale of McAllister’s videotaped make-out session with district aide — and Facebook friend (social media has doomed us all) — Melissa Hixon Peacock.

A Crash Course in Congressional Hanky Panky

(Screenshot)

The Ouachita Citizen exposed the interoffice dalliance (both McAllister and Peacock are married to other people) with the help of a grainy surveillance video purportedly leaked to the local paper by another McAllister aide.

While Peacock clearly fit our conspiracy theorists’ bill in this particular case, HOH decided to examine the past 20 years of congressional sexcapades to discern whether libidinous lawmakers do, in fact, have a clear cut “type.”

Ex-Rep. Gary Condit, D-Calif.

A Crash Course in Congressional Hanky Panky

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Object of his affection: the late Chandra Levy, his intern. Full story

April 3, 2014

When Politics and Softball Collide …

There is one teensy problem with playing on a bipartisan congressional athletic team: Sometimes politics comes first.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a North Dakota Democrat and star slugger for the Congressional Women’s Softball team, is set to campaign in West Virginia this weekend on behalf of Democratic Senate candidate Natalie Tennant.

An innocuous political move, except that Tennant’s opponent is one of Team Congress’ captains, Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito.

The pair play on a team of female members who battle the women of the Washington press corps in the annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game.

Heitkamp weighed in on the issue in an exclusive interview with CQ Roll Call’s Kyle Trygstad.

Full story

March 28, 2014

Steve Pearce Cans Provocative Spox Rebekah Stevens

Rep. Steve Pearce has parted ways with barely settled-in mouthpiece Rebekah Stevens following days of unfavorable press stemming from the 24-year-old GOP operative’s in-your-face blogging career.

“I am proud to hire passionate, hardworking, and dedicated congressional staff out of New Mexico. When I hired Miss Stevens, I hoped she could transition from activist to become an asset to the people of New Mexico,” the New Mexico Republican relayed in a statement. “It is now clear that major obstacles will prevent this. I asked for and accepted her resignation this morning. I hold myself and my staff to the highest level of accountability, and any distractions that hinder my service to New Mexicans must always be addressed.”

Stevens’ incredibly short-lived gig here on Capitol Hill — Pearce Communications Director Eric Layer announced her arrival not 72 hours ago — appears to have come unraveled because of impolitic statements made and professional fights picked under the pseudonym “Politix Fireball.”

Both the blog and Twitter accounts associated with that particular user suddenly went silent the week of March 17.

Steve Pearce Cans Provocative Spox Rebekah Stevens

(Screenshot)

Stevens joined Pearce’s Capitol Hill office March 25.

March 25, 2014

Query Us Behavior: All Sexed Up Edition

Every time over the last month that we have fired up the computer to try and do a little (OK, very little) work, it’s been there, staring us right in the face.

Day in and day out we’ve been haunted by those two little words that have apparently become synonymous with the Heard on the Hill brand: Zimbabwean porn.

That’s right.

All you preverts out there on the other side of the interwebz CANNOT stop searching for any mention of the lascivious activities that got ex-Rep. Mel Reynolds, D-Ill.,  booted from south central Africa.

Every day since then, whenever we log in to our trusty back-end site, the online search gods remind — nay, mock! — us that you, our beloved readers, most likely made your way to this treasure trove of triviality with lust in your hearts. We’re no prudes, but this thing has graduated from basic “Where Are They Now?” curiosity to  full-on creepy obsession.

Even if we purged the key driver — Zimbabwean porn — from the equation, there’s still plenty of other threads folks cling to whilst making their way here, including:

  • rep porn (top six over the last 90 days)
  • porn rep (top seven)
  • zimbabwen porn (tough to spellcheck when distracted, huh?)
  • zimbabwe porn (real timesaver, shaving of those two bulky last letters)
  • zimbabweanporn (that you, E. E. Cummings?)
  • mika brzezinski hot (we’ll pass along your warm regards)
Query Us Behavior: All Sexed Up Edition

MSNBC talk-show host Mika Brzezinski (Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

March 7, 2014

Buying American Seems Foreign to #CPAC2014 Exhibitors

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — “Hi! Would you like an American-made keychain?” an aide with the Alliance for American Manufacturing asks while dangling a shiny, red- white- and blue-lettered bottle opener to the CPAC faithful.

Buying American Seems Foreign to #CPAC2014 Exhibitors

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The group, which religiously tracks the downward spiral of domestic hiring — 6.1 million jobs lost from 2001-2009, per their estimates — practices what it preaches, proudly distributing U.S.-born trinkets to the grabby stream of passersby.

Buying American Seems Foreign to #CPAC2014 Exhibitors

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

But here, amidst this celebration of the party of Ronald Reagan, the AAM is one of the few keeping the faith.

HOH spotted a handful of other American-made keepsakes (a water bottle here, a patriotic pen there) up for grabs at the various booths set up in the “CPAC Hub.” But the brunt of the giveaways being greedily stuffed into near-bulging gift bags appeared to have traveled much further than those piled into ballrooms bemoaning the fate of American exceptionalism.

Prominent outsourcers include:

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas

Buying American Seems Foreign to #CPAC2014 Exhibitors

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

 

Buying American Seems Foreign to #CPAC2014 Exhibitors

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

 

Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 5:05 p.m.
ScandalFaced, Whuck

February 21, 2014

Ex-Rep. Mel Reynolds Ducks Zimbabwean Porn Charge

Former House lawmaker Mel Reynolds has been kicked out of Zimbabwe due to immigration issues but will not have to stand trial on since-dismissed pornography charges.

As reported by the Chicago Tribune, the trouble-prone pol — who was arrested earlier this week — pleaded guilty Feb. 21 to overstaying his welcome in the African nation and was subsequently ordered to leave the country. Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 3:58 p.m.
Reps, ScandalFaced, Whuck

February 18, 2014

Former Rep. Mel Reynolds Arrested in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean authorities on Tuesday arrested former congressman and convicted felon Mel Reynolds under suspicion of possessing pornographic material and violating immigration protocol.

Reynolds’ diplomatic problems, first reported by The Associated Press, are just the latest embarrassment in a short-lived political career dominated by scandal.

The Illinois Democrat was elected in 1992 to the House and re-elected in 1994 but never completed his second term, resigning in 1995 following a conviction on sexual misconduct charges stemming from an affair with an underage campaign aide. Reynolds was found guilty of misusing campaign funds and bank fraud two years later. He spent a couple of years in prison but was pardoned in 2001 by President Bill Clinton.

Former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr., who last fall was sentenced to 30 months in prison for helping himself to $750,000 in campaign funds, had replaced Reynolds after his initial fall from grace. Democratic Rep. Robin Kelly won a special election to succeed Jackson in the 2nd District in early 2013.

Reynolds unsuccessfully attempted to mount a comeback in 2004, vying to unseat Jackson, and again last year, in an attempt to succeed his successor.

“The bottom line is my past is my past,” Reynolds assured Roll Call a decade ago. “I don’t wear mistakes that I have made as a badge of shame, just as I don’t wear all of my accomplishments as a badge of confidence.”

February 14, 2014

Joel McHale to Headline White House Correspondents Dinner

Joel McHale to Headline White House Correspondents Dinner

(Ray Tamarra/Getty Images)

“Community” star and “The Soup” host Joel McHale has been charged with bringing the funny to this year’s White House Correspondents Dinner.

The annual “nerd prom” is scheduled to take place at the Washington Hilton on May 3.

“We’re thrilled that Joel will headline the dinner when we celebrate our centennial,” White House Correspondents Association president Steven Thomma trumpeted in a release. “He’s sharp, funny, and just the type of comic who can navigate the unique challenge of our dinner, making fun of Democrats, Republicans and especially the news media. Washington can use a little good-natured ribbing.” Full story

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