Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 26, 2015

Posts in "Splitsville"

September 15, 2015

Alan Simpson Goes From Economic Affairs to Affairs of the Heart

Simpson, up to something? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo.)

Simpson: Former senator, current matchmaker, eternal romantic. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Sen. Alan K. Simpson couldn’t solve the nation’s financial woes as co-chairman of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform — but where he fell short in economic affairs he perhaps is making up for in affairs of the heart.

The 84-year-old Wyoming Republican, who held office from 1979 to 1997, is being partly credited for the recent marriage of a New York Public Radio podcaster, Anna Sale, and a wildlife research scientist, Arthur Middleton.

It’s all detailed in the featured item of the Sunday New York Times wedding section. Full story

September 9, 2015

Chellie Pingree Insists Divorce Won’t Cramp Nebo Lodge’s Style

Her separation from billionaire spouse Donald Sussman will in no way mean lights out for Nebo Lodge, an aide to Rep. Chellie Pingree assured HOH Wednesday.

chellie pingree

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Maine Democrat established the gourmet retreat more than a decade ago and has since assembled a closely knit group — including renowned chef Amanda Hallowell and Pingree’s eldest daughter, Hannah, who serves as general manager — to oversee the homey establishment.

Per Team Pingree, all of that is expected to remain undisturbed, even after the four-term lawmaker disentangles herself from her husband’s myriad financial holdings.

“Rep. Pingree owns Nebo and nothing will change. They’ve got a great team on North Haven and it will continue to operate as it has,” Pingree spokesman Willy Ritch stated.

This hired mouth may have to race back up north next summer, just to make sure everything remains on the up and up.


Chellie Pingree, Donald Sussman Parting Company

Getting Our Fill of Vacationland

The Maine Attraction: Getting a Taste of the Chellie Pingree Experience

See photos, follies, HOH Hits and Misses and more at Roll Call’s new video site.

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September 8, 2015

Chellie Pingree, Donald Sussman Parting Company

Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, announced Tuesday she has split from her financier spouse, Donald Sussman — a break that has so far stymied her administrative obligations and may still impact her hospitality holdings.

chellie pingree

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“Donald and I are sorry to say that we have separated and have decided to get divorced. It is a very amicable and truly mutual decision,” Pingree said in a news release. “It is sad for both of us but we continue to have the utmost respect for each other. This is the only statement either of us will have on this private family matter.”

Per her office, the couple wed on June 18, 2011. 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.


(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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





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.


(CQ Roll Call Photo Illustration)

(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.


  • 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.


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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July 29, 2014

The Music That Should Have Played on the Eric Cantor Tribute Video

By now, you’ve likely seen the tribute video House Republicans made for Rep. Eric Cantor, who is stepping down as majority leader on Thursday after losing his primary earlier this year. Along with images of the Virginian purposefully talking, it has a musical score described best as cable television network commercial humble-brag about Emmy-winning programs.

We knew they could do better. So after an incredibly scientific survey of music about goodbye, we came up with the following Spotifyplay list that can be used to overdub the Cantor tribute video. From Cantor’s hometown band GWAR to that immortal Vitamin C song (you know the one; here it comes …), here is HOH’s good deed for the day:


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

April 29, 2014

Alan Grayson’s Divorce Keeps Getting Weirder

The problem isn’t that Rep. Alan Grayson and his spouse, Lolita, are stuck in a horrifically troubled union. It’s that the two should have never been allowed to take the misguided plunge in the first place.

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

At least, that’s what the Florida Democrat is now arguing, after discovering that Lolita didn’t officially split from a previous beau until four years after the Graysons had tied the knot.

The Orlando Sentinel has all the sordid details about the kooky chronology, as well as the latest he said, she said from the feuding camps’ flabbergasted legal teams.

The one development we simply could not ignore is that the lawmaker is now petitioning for possession of the 1981 DeLorean in his auto collection.

No word on whether he’s got a flux capacitor in there that could help him race back to 1990 and halt this train wreck of a relationship from ever happening.

January 7, 2014

Alan Grayson Facing a Leaner 2014

Rep. Alan Grayson faces a new year fraught with financial uncertainty, a one-two punch predicated on a bogus stock loan plan that sapped tens of millions of dollars from his expansive portfolio, as well as a newly publicized divorce.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Lolita Grayson formally filed for divorce from her husband — the two had already separated — on Monday, petitioning the state for possession of the family home, “equitable distribution” of the family nest egg, alimony and child support.

Those assets helped the Florida Democrat land smack dab in the middle of our latest 50 Richest list; his roughly $18 million in stocks, $5 million-plus in cash and collection of luxury homes (two in Florida, one in Virginia and another in West Virginia) earned him the No. 21 spot this time around.

But it’s been a bumpy ride.

As reported by The Washington Post, the lawmaker has repeatedly been burned by bad investments, including a decadelong fleecing that relieved him of $18 million.

With divorce proceedings now officially under way, he might also soon have to say goodbye to the $1 million home he has in Orlando. He’ll likely be on the hook for living expenses for his four underage children. And he can thank Florida Gov. Rick Scott for keeping the controversial “permanent alimony” provision on the books until now.

December 17, 2013

Tareq Salahi Wants What Frank Wolf’s Got

Aspiring lawmaker Tareq Salahi may not have clinched the Virginia governorship that he wanted this past fall. But he’s more than willing to slide into the seat retiring Rep. Frank R. Wolf, R-Va., has now put into play for 2014.

(Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call)

(Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The last time he visited the halls of Congress, the reality TV alumnus sat quietly while members of the House Homeland Security Committee grilled him and his now-ex-wife, Michaele Salahi, as to how, exactly, they had managed to gain entrée into one of President Barack Obama’s earliest state dinners. The next time, he’d prefer to walk through the chamber doors as a peer.

“I am well acquainted with the financial struggle and hardship many Virginians have been facing and have empathy and respect for the people who have somehow managed to tough it out in these challenging economic times,” Salahi said in a release announcing his candidacy for Virginia’s 10th District. “They need a strong voice on capitol hill.”

Salahi’s last bid at becoming a political player — the self-styled “Crash the Vote” campaign — involved him vying to become the next Republican governor of the Old Dominion. After GOP leaders named Ken Cuccinelli as their standard bearer in the politically charged race, Salahi rebranded himself as an independent and continued making the rather offbeat rounds.

“His recent gubernatorial campaign has become the launch pad for a more plausible run for congress,” Team Salahi asserted via email.

Of course, there’s still all that bad blood to deal with.

Then again, some party poopers maintain that Salahi needn’t worry too much about offending potential co-workers.

“The only way Tareq Salahi will get to Congress is by slipping past security,” a GOP campaign operative assured HOH.

November 26, 2013

Radel Press Crew Jumps Into Kurt Bardella’s Waiting Arms

As Mark Leibovich wrote on Twitter in response to the news, “#ThisTown writes itself.”


Bardella, right, has some company in his communications startup. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Bardella, right, has some company in his communications startup. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As if the cocaine-busted Rep. Trey Radel needed another problem, he now has an empty press shop to deal with.

His communications director, Amanda Nunez, and a press aide, Caitlin Rush, announced Monday that they were leaving the Florida Republican’s office to join Endeavor Strategic Communications, the public relations shop headed by Kurt Bardella, former press aide, most famously, for Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. #ThisTown

Bardella started Endeavor in September as a PR firm that “specializes” in a number of image management fields, including “crisis communications.”

All three players have some experience in that one field.

Full story

July 9, 2013

Bob Filner’s Breakup

(Warren Rojas)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call Photo Illustration)

Bronwyn Ingram, formerly attached at the hip to Mayor of San Diego Bob Filner, has reportedly cut ties with the fiery tempered, former 10-term congressman.

According to ABC 10 News, Ingram, whom Filner had taken to introducing as the “First Lady of San Diego,” broke off their nearly 18th month engagement due to a souring of their situation.

“I am extremely disappointed and heartbroken, both for what Team First Lady could have accomplished, and for me, personally; however, this is the only action I can take given the devolvement of our personal relationship,” Ingram relayed to friends.

Filner’s office did not respond to requests for comment about the sudden parting of ways.

Their union would have marked the third walk down the aisle for the twice-divorced pol and the second leap of faith by Ingram.

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