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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

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.

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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.

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October 29, 2014

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

September 26, 2014

House Hopeful Dives Into Kevin Yoder’s Skinny Dipping Past

It may be old news in #ThisTown, but Kansas Democrat Kelly Kultala doesn’t want anyone back home to forget about Rep. Kevin Yoder’s embarrassing swing through Israel.

The second-term Kansas Republican made headlines a few years back after it was revealed that he, and a handful of other GOP lawmakers, had thrown caution (and, apparently, their clothing) to the wind just before taking an ill-advised plunge into the sacrosanct Sea of Galilee in August 2011. Team Kultala invested five-figures to dredge up the incident for this ad.

Yoder did the whole mea culpa thing. And he has, at least to the best of our knowledge, managed to keep covered up while here in Washington.

Related Stories:

If Kevin Yoder Had Heeded Peter Bis’ Advice

Take Five With Kevin Yoder

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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

Sexcapades

Self-destructive tendencies

Questionable judgment

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 17, 2014

Michele Bachmann and the Right to Bare Arms

Michele Bachmann and the Right to Bare Arms

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When Michele Bachmann came to the floor Wednesday afternoon to preside over the House chamber, there was one problem: She was wearing a dress — without sleeves.

After Speaker John A. Boehner opened the House, Bachmann was due to step in the chair. Unfortunately for the Minnesota Republican, the dress code governing the House chamber was written before the time when Michelle Obama was first lady. Bare shoulders are not allowed on the House floor.

According to a source who saw the hubbub, floor staffers huddled for a moment before approaching Bachmann and telling her she could not preside until she covered up.

“I was just told that I needed to have a jacket and it was no problem,” Bachmann told HOH on Wednesday afternoon. “I called the staff and said ‘grab one’ — I keep an extra one in my office — and they ran it over lickety-split.”

Bachmann said she agreed with the dress code, which is stricter for members when they are presiding over the House chamber than it is for when they’re on the floor. “And it isn’t different for women than it is for men, which I absolutely agree with,” she said.

While Bachmann waited roughly five minutes for her staff to bring over a jacket, Rep. Steve Daines, R-Mont., stepped in to pinch-hit as the presiding officer.

When her staff did arrive, they brought two options: a dark blazer and a white one. Bachmann, who was wearing a black dress, tried on both, opting for the black jacket in the end.

“I just thought this would look more professional,” she said.

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September 15, 2014

Tim Ryan Dresses Down Urban Outfitters Over Sweatshirt-gate

Bizarrely stained outer wear that Urban Outfitters rather unbelievably tied to Kent State University has made Rep. Tim Ryan’s blood boil.

Tim Ryan Dresses Down Urban Outfitters Over Sweatshirt gate

(Screenshot)

 

“On May 4, 1970, four students lost their lives at Kent State University and changed our country forever. It is deplorable for Urban Outfitters to exploit the pain and suffering of this national tragedy for their gain,” the Ohio Democrat said in a tersely worded official statement. “May 4th was a seminal and transformational moment in American history and we should never lose sight of its immense impact. Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.”

Ryan is referring, of course, to the horror scene that unfolded in Kent, Ohio, some 44 years ago, when the Ohio National Guard opened fire on Vietnam War protestors, killing four students and wounding nine others.

Full story

September 3, 2014

Separated at Birth: Mike Bishop Edition

House hopeful Mike Bishop appears to have one of those faces.

Per a colleague, the man who our own political handicappers see as a solid contender in the race to replace retiring Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., apparently reminds some folks of a certain teenage heartthrob.

“He says he gets the Greg Brady thing all the time,” our fellow hack said of Bishop’s familiarity with comparisons drawn between him and 70’s icon Barry Williams.

Though not quite identical twins, the two could probably pass as brothers.

While his strikingly silver mane clashes with the others’ darkened locks, our pal proposed adding another potential “lost” sibling to the pack: ex-Sen. John Ensign.

Separated at Birth: Mike Bishop Edition

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

We see the similarities in the eyebrows and chins.

Still, the libidinous Nevada Republican would have to freebase “Just for Men,” while the others got to work on developing unimpeachable perma-tans, before we could fully buy into this family reunion.

July 23, 2014

John Walsh, Your Canned Response Is Ready

John Walsh, Your Canned Response Is Ready

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

After intently studying the last project Sen. John Walsh turned in to the United States War College, New York Times reporter Jonathan Martin has uncovered what appears to be a heavily plagiarized final product.

This startling revelation, compounded by Team Walsh’s head-scratching misrepresentation of the Montana Democrat’s academic credentials earlier this year, means Walsh suddenly has a lot more ‘splaining to do.

His best bet? Committing the following to memory:

Confidence is high George Costanza won’t mind you cribbing from the best.

July 11, 2014

Congress-edits Is Just the Latest to Keep Tabs on Pols’ Cyber Stumbles

Another day, another resource to expose the often clueless political operatives who foolishly tool around the Internet believing their subversive activities — be they illicit, shady or just plain dumb — will never come back to bite them in the arse.

It’s getting so that overzealous Hill staffers and campaign spin doctors can’t rewrite history without someone calling them out for flooding the online ether with lies, damned lies and, well, you know the rest.

Senate hopeful Mike McFadden, the Republican pick to challenge Minnesota Democrat Al Franken this fall, received a crash course in transparency after aides got caught tinkering with unflattering responses to a divisive TV spot. Full story

July 9, 2014

Disgraced ‘Duke’ Cunningham Now a Free Man

Disgraced Duke Cunningham Now a Free Man

Cunningham, left, is now a free man. (CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

After eight years in prison and one year of post-prison monitoring, former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, R-Calif., is now a free man.

According to local reports, a federal judge recently granted the disgraced congressman an early release from the monitoring, which was supposed to last for an additional two years. Cunningham resigned from office in 2005 and was sent to prison after pleading guilty to bribery, fraud and tax evasion.

The Vietnam veteran and former Navy pilot told U-T San Diego that he regretted how his conviction affected his family and friends.

“I would tell my constituents and my friends that I’m sorry for the actions I took,” Cunningham said. “There is not a day goes by that I don’t ask myself, how the hell did I do what I did? You get caught up in something.”

The 72-year-old former congressman reportedly lives in a scenic gated community in Arkansas.

June 24, 2014

Anthony Weiner Suggests Cutting Adam Kuhn a Break

Sex scandal vet Anthony Weiner seems to believe Adam Kuhn, the disgraced ex-chief of staff who tendered his resignation Tuesday to Rep. Steve Stivers after an affair imploded and private photos found their way online, is getting a raw deal.

“Leave the kid alone,” the former New York Democrat urged HOH, and, presumably, the rest of the world, after we sought out his advice for weathering a potentially career-ending dalliance.

As first reported by POLITICO, Kuhn’s personal and professional lives collided last week after his still-married ex-girlfriend, retired porn star Jennifer Roubenes Allbaugh, sought revenge for his leaving her by broadcasting a snapshot of his penis online.

The picture has since been deleted and her Twitter account (@rubyadultstar) disabled.

But the remnants of the devastating spat live on.

 

Full story

June 6, 2014

Sleazy Pol Sparks Spectacular Reddit Guessing Game

Reddit, the online hub known for its no-holds-barred “Ask Me Anything” discussions has been consumed by the SHOCKING! (shocking?) revelation that some elected official, somewhere may have slipped a paramour a few bucks to keep quiet about their extracurricular activities.

“Relative of mine slept with a notable politician and was paid to keep quiet. Has the hush letter in writing,” a Redditor who posts under the moniker diztorted floated in a forum rife with heartbreaking tales of childhood molestation and jarring anecdotes about stumbling upon unknown siblings/secret second families.

Unlike the surreptitious financial support former North Carolina senator and Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards sent mistress Rielle Hunter’s way, or the consolation prize former Nevada Republican Sen. John Ensign served up to one-time aide Doug Hampton, after bedding his wife, Cynthia, this purported philanderer apparently had the foresight to contractually bar the other party from ever saying a word about what had transpired between the two of them.

“This is ‘House of Cards’ stuff here, Underwoods be damned,” said a commenter who goes by TheSouthernPunk.

Soon, everyone begun weighing in on the hush-hush, hanky-panky. Full story

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