Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 22, 2014

Posts in "Staffers"

August 21, 2014

GW Hoopsters’ Swing Through Congress A Slam Dunk

Members of the George Washington University Colonials men’s basketball team had a ball wending their way through all the touristy spots in the Capitol.

The visiting collegians practiced taking the rock to the hole last week by performing impromptu dunks at various stops — including the Speaker’s Balcony and Statuary Hall — along the way.

The fun-loving contingent got the VIP treatment courtesy of former House aide Rich Landon. The ex-staffer told HOH he’s been pals with GWU coach Mike Lonergan since his shot-calling days at Catholic University of America.

Per Landon, Lonergan et al. ran into a number of congressional staffers — including one starstruck aide to Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. — who sought out the national championship-winning coach to ask for autographs and pose for selfies.

Next on Landon’s to-do list: seeing about showing a few aging rock-and-rollers around his old stomping grounds. And he hinted that he’s been in contact with one of the most hirsute Washington Nationals about possibly making the rounds.

August 18, 2014

John Lewis Gets Ballsier for ‘March: Book Two’

It’s good to know Rep. John Lewis can look back on all the awfulness he experienced as a youth and laugh about it now.

According to Nate Powell, the artist who has teamed up with the Georgia Democrat to help keep alive the revolutionary spirit that changed the state of race relations during the turbulent 1960s via a series of graphic novels, humor remains one of the greatest tools in the non-violent activist’s toolbox.

“Another day, another joke about nutsacks and revolution at Parchman Farm prison, 1961,” Powell shared with the Twitterverse while revealing a rough sketch of a panel from the second installment of Lewis’ incredible life story.

The septuagenarian lawmaker skipped Comic-Con this time around (Powell and co-author/congressional aide Andrew Aydin, made the trip), but is expected to return next summer with continuing saga in hand.

Related:

John Lewis Readies ‘March: Book Two’ for 2015

John Lewis Staffer’s Winding Road to Comic-Con

Who You Gonna Call? John Lewis!

Rep. John Lewis’ ‘March’ Nominated for Will Eisner Award

‘March’ Got John Lewis All Choked Up

Comics Vets Rally Around John Lewis

August 4, 2014

Exit Interview: Doug Heye

Keeping the party on message is what GOP communications guru Doug Heye has always been paid to do. Thinking things through and behaving graciously are the highly prized extras colleagues say he brought to the negotiating table.

Exit Interview: Doug Heye

Heye slips while pushing a car after a winter storm hit D.C. in 2010. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A seasoned political operative who helped the Republican National Committee get the word out before rising through the ranks to become deputy chief of staff for communications to ex-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., Heye is saying goodbye to Congress (for now) while he goes in search of new adventures.

“I hear the Yankees need a new shortstop next season,” he floated in his farewell email to the Capitol Hill community.

He leaves Congress with few regrets. “I never learned how to get to the Dunkin’ Donuts in the Library of Congress — that’s probably a good thing,” he quipped.

Heye even managed to sound wistful about burning the midnight oil.

“On some summer nights, the military bands will play on the east front of the Capitol. Opening up the window to listen while working late is nice,” he said. Full story

July 31, 2014

Don Young Gets Grabby With Congressional Aide (Updated)

Don Young Gets Grabby With Congressional Aide (Updated)

Young confronts an aide who tried to stop him from entering the side door of a House Republican meeting. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 8:12 p.m. | With the August recess in jeopardy and House Republicans in total disarray, the arm-twisting on Capitol Hill is getting pretty intense.

Just ask the unfortunate aide who dared cross the path of a tardy Don Young.

NBC News producer Frank Thorp V caught the late-for-the-conference-meeting Alaska Republican’s manhandling of an unsuspecting staffer on camera. Per Thorp’s Twitter feed, the aide had attempted to redirect Young to enter the already in-progress GOP strategy session through another doorway when things got physical.

“While returning to the GOP conference meeting to discuss the ongoing situation on our southern border, I was caught off guard by an unidentified individual who was physically blocking me from reentering the room,” Young said in a statement. “Regardless, my reaction was wrong and I should have never placed my hands on the young man.”

Related:

Don Young Said to Have Barged Through Barriers Blocking Asbestos Spill

July 25, 2014

Angus King Gussies Up Dirksen

Unlike Florida Republican John L. Mica’s grandiose plan to clean house on the other side of the Capitol, Sen. Angus King had a much more modest desire: brighten up a little corner of Dirksen.

Mission accomplished.

Angus King Gussies Up Dirksen

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

“I walk that corridor two or three times a day … and often wondered to myself, ‘Why is this blank?’” the Maine Independent said of the once-barren hallway leading up from the internal subway to the Senate office building.

Now inspired, King set out to seek a resolution to the featureless landscape members, staff and visitors were faced with each time they trekked over for a visit. Full story

July 23, 2014

Making the Most of a Swing Through Charm City

What’s a D.C.-based reporter to do when faced with ferreting out a worthwhile repast while on assignment in neighboring Baltimore? Solicit recommendations from Maryland’s congressional delegation, of course.

At least, that’s how Bloomberg BNA scribe Anthony Adragna played it Wednesday morning before hitting the road for an out-of-town conference.

 

 

According to Adragna, the dining S.O.S. was very much a spur of the moment thing.

“First time ever reaching out and didn’t put much thought into it,” Adragna told HOH. He said he meant to pose the question to Maryland Democrat Benjamin L. Cardin in person a day earlier — the two, evidently, chatted here on Capitol Hill Tuesday — but just never got around to it.

No matter.

Cardin came through on Twitter anyway. Full story

July 22, 2014

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

July 16, 2014

Courtney Stodden’s PETA Push Gets Tongues Wagging

Love her or despise her, Capitol Hill denizens were utterly captivated by having a nearly naked Courtney Stodden preach the virtues of a vegetarian lifestyle to them while shoving fake wieners in everyone’s mouths.

Courtney Stodden’s PETA Push Gets Tongues Wagging

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The platinum-tressed teen blew into town to draw eyeballs to the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals’ curbside veggie dog giveaway. The staff luncheon/exercise in political theater is meant to serve as a counterpunch to the meat lobby’s annual hot dog blowout.

According to PETA spokeswoman Moira Colley, the group rallied supporters to the cause by distributing around 600 not dogs — “They’re all soy protein and spices,” one cheerful volunteer said of the meatless analogues — to famished passersby. Full story

Senate Softball Rivalry Once Again in Full Swing

Party lines, schmarty lines.

The key thing that keeps Sens. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., going while here in D.C. is the burning desire to topple the other in their annual softball showdown.

Team Scrantonicity has faced off against the Hit It Toomey squad each summer for the past three years with mixed results. Scrantonicity throttled its foes 20-10 last year, but Team Toomey has wracked up more “W”s than losses over time.

“Sadly team Toomey leads the all-time series 2-1. But I’m quite confident the series will be all even after tonight’s festivities,” a Casey aide assured HOH in a trash-talking email.

Those looking to get swept up in softball mania should make their way over to the National Mall (Seventh and Madison streets NW) around 6:45 p.m. to catch all the action.

Look for Casey to be snagging flies in the outfield (our tipster says the boss typically patrols right field), while Toomey tends to plant himself at third.

Randy Weber Is Always Recruiting for Hot Pepper Parties

“We’ve got some fresh peppers in here. They’re not hot,” Rep. Randy Weber, R-Texas, mischievously goads his congressional aides after pouring out the baggie full of mixed chilies he religiously totes around in his coat pocket.

Sam Lombardo, a much-too-trusting summer intern, takes the bait, hurling a pea-sized ornamental pepper down the hatch.

Randy Weber Is Always Recruiting for Hot Pepper Parties

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The impetuous youth makes it through the first few bites unscathed, but is soon fanning his wide-open mouth for relief while Weber — who is always looking to welcome new chili-heads into the fold — chuckles with delight. Full story

Legal Scholars Sweeten Congressional Briefings With Smoked Meats

The savviest minds at the Law & Economics Center at George Mason University’s School of Law know that it’s easier to catch more flies with honey than with vinegar — or Hill Country BBQ, as the case may be.

Legal Scholars Sweeten Congressional Briefings With Smoked Meats

(CQ Roll Call Photo Illustration)

Karen Czarnecki, director of education at Mason’s Law & Economics Center, said the decision to seed the semi-regular policy luncheons with imported Texas-style barbecue predates her tenure with the school. But she can vouch for its efficacy.

“It has been very popular and is served at every briefing,” she said of the crowd-pleasing spread. Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 2:56 p.m.
Food, HillSide, Staffers

July 14, 2014

John Lewis Readies ‘March: Book Two’ for 2015

The second installment of Rep. John Lewis’ illustrated history of the civil rights era, “March: Book Two” has a newly designed cover and a tentative release date: late January of next year.

John Lewis Readies ‘March: Book Two’ for 2015

(Courtesy Top Shelf Productions)

Top Shelf Productions spokesman Leigh Walton said Lewis would not be traveling to San Diego next week for Comic Con, as he did last year. Congressional aide and co-author Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell are making the trip, and are expected to update fans about the planned trilogy Friday, July 25 at noon during a Top Shelf-led panel discussion.

Per the promotional materials, Book Two appears to pick up several months after Book One drew to a close (spring 1960), with the Georgia Democrat continuing to exercise his commitment to non-violent protest by hitting the road with the Freedom Riders and, ultimately, helping to lead the history-making 1963 march on Washington.

“Pre-orders are already coming in for Book Two,” Walton said of the mounting interest surrounding the ground-breaking set of graphic novels. Much like Book One, the next episode of Lewis’ extraordinary life will be available in paperback, hardcover, and as a limited edition, autographed collectible.

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 10, 2014

Getting to the Meat of the Matter in Texas

Getting to the Meat of the Matter in Texas

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

From the looks of things on social media, folks in the Lone Star State can’t quite figure out exactly what they should be stuffing their faces with.

Corpus Christi, Texas country station K-99 kicked off the caloric controversy earlier this week by endorsing a short, but still oddly redundant, rewriting of the food pyramid.

The extra beefy prescription seemed to be one only Dr. Atkins could love. Not to mention that the proposed categories somehow managed to be both over-broad and bizarrely exclusionary. Full story

July 8, 2014

Boozy Treats, Sweaty Pits Await Rooftop Deck Caucus

On Thursday, Holland & Knight will once again play host to the “Rooftop Deck Caucus,” the informal nickname for the throng of fun-seeking congressional staffers who flood the lobbying firm’s sun-splashed offices each summer.

Boozy Treats, Sweaty Pits Await Rooftop Deck Caucus

(Courtesy Holland & Knight)

Public policy head Rich Gold — “and DJ,” he added — told HOH the come-as-you-are gathering (800 17th St. NW) began as an in-house shindig, but noted that it has since evolved into a widely attended opportunity to blow off some steam.

“It’s kind of a tongue-in-cheek event, to say the least,” he suggested. “It also tends to get hot and sweaty, given Washington in July.”

Skyrocketing temperatures or not, Gold said he’s noticed some crossover between the more member-friendly reception his group puts on in the Cannon Caucus Room and the open-air soiree — overlooking the White House, no less — happening this week.

“It has started to get out,” he said, estimating that around a dozen intrepid lawmakers have begun routinely mixing with the 300-odd partygoers that congregate on the roof each year.

Those willing to brave the humidity for this year’s 8th annual outing, which is scheduled to take place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., are set to be rewarded with spirited “cocktail ice creams” and “adult” sno-cones, Baja-style fish tacos, mini crab cakes, the musical stylings of the Grateful Dead and Jimmy Buffett and “maybe even a photo booth.”

“Come party till you pass out. Something Washington doesn’t do nearly enough of,” Gold counseled.

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