Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 17, 2014

Posts in "Staffers"

December 15, 2014

Exit Interview: James Brandell Shares Greatest Regret, Memories of Pop Stars

He’s seen plenty of people — including his fair share of celebrities — come and go during his decade-plus tenure on Capitol Hill. But House Republican aide James Brandell wouldn’t trade his time in Congress for anything.

Brandell has served as chief of staff to retiring Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., since 2001, an experience he’s relished every step of the way.

Exit Interview: James Brandell Shares Greatest Regret, Memories of Pop Stars

Rep. Paul Ryan (left), R-Wis., joins retiring Camp (center) and Brandell in commemorating the new research grant Brandell created in Camp’s honor to distribute all the money raised for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. (Courtesy Leukemia & Lymphoma Society)

Full story

December 11, 2014

Capitol Jewish Forum Welcomes All to Pre-Hanukkah Soiree

Homeward-bound members and congressional staff can get a jump on holiday festivities Thursday by ducking into the Senate’s Mike Mansfield Room for a taste of Jewish food, fun and fraternity.

Capitol Jewish Forum Welcomes All to Pre Hanukkah Soiree

(Screenshot)

The annual Capitol Hill Chanukah Celebration, a seasonal gathering hosted by the Capitol Jewish Forum, is scheduled to take place in S-207 from 4:45 to 6 p.m. Anyone with a valid congressional ID is automatically in; non-staffers must RSVP either by phone (202-332-5600) or email (cjf@afldc.org) in order to secure a spot.

“Hanukkah doesn’t begin until next week … but we thought we might get our friends into the spirit a little early,” Rabbi Levi Shemtov, executive vice president of American Friends of Lubavitch, said of the preemptive strike.

Attendees can look forward to latkes, doughnuts, live music, menorah kits and, more than likely, huddling with the congressional leaders that stop by to pay their respects each winter.

The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

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December 10, 2014

Reporters’ Parsing Prompts Michael Steel ‘Meltdown’

Reporters Parsing Prompts Michael Steel Meltdown

Steel, interacting with the press. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The winding down of the legislative clock has everyone in the Capitol on edge — particularly partisan mouthpieces who feel the boss is being unduly grilled about end-of-session escape plans.

According to those present for the public dressing down, leadership aide Michael Steel lost his cool Wednesday after reporters pressed his boss, Speaker John A. Boehner, about the myriad provisions tucked into the $1.1 trillion train-ticket-out-of-town that is the current appropriations bundle. Full story

December 8, 2014

Benishek Staffer Wins Roll Call 2014 Election Contest

Benishek Staffer Wins Roll Call 2014 Election Contest

Now that Louisiana’s runoff is a thing of the past, and the results map (How much more time do you need, Arizona?) is more or less set, HOH is pleased to announce the winner of the Roll Call 2014 Election Contest. Congratulations, Christopher Stewart!

“I am incredibly surprised to get this email, since I never win contests,” the legislative assistant for Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Mich., wrote to us, adding that he has lost “badly” in other picking contests such as March Madness brackets and fantasy football. Full story

House Aide Immortalizes Dave Camp Via New Research Grant

House Aide Immortalizes Dave Camp Via New Research Grant

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Relentless cancer warrior James Brandell continues to rake in donations to help vanquish the life-threatening diseases that have encroached upon his inner circle.

His latest fundraising efforts are set to be unveiled Tuesday when he presents his boss, retiring lawmaker and lymphoma survivor Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., with a $50,000 research grant bearing his name. Full story

December 5, 2014

When Shushing Folks Disturbs the Peace

A prominently displayed plea for tightly zipped lips has got tongues wagging in Cannon.

When Shushing Folks Disturbs the Peace

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The campaign to dial things down a bit is the brainchild of newly displaced members of the House Budget Committee’s minority staff; the congressional aides recently got uprooted from the basement of Cannon by ongoing renovation efforts.

The migration from secluded workspace to heavily trafficked juncture has proven more jarring than expected — hence the oversized request (“Quiet Please! Offices at Work,” the announcement reads) for passersby to show a little respect while milling about outside.

“It is a temporary sign during our transition to the first floor, as the stairwell opposite the new space is an unusually noisy gathering place,” a Budget Committee aide told HOH.

One House staffer bristled at the visual pollution, chiding the new arrivals for making much ado about nothing. Full story

December 3, 2014

Senate Aide Officially Ushers in the Holiday Season — on Letterhead

“Could this be any more #thistown?” an HOH tipster bemoaned in passing along the holiday missive Hayden Rogers, chief of staff to Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., recently distributed to work colleagues.

Senate Aide Officially Ushers in the Holiday Season — on Letterhead

(Courtesy HOH tipster)

Some Capitol Hill denizens tend to go all-in on holiday messaging, often resulting in self-effacing fun for everyone. Rogers said he’s wanted to join the choir of cheerful voices since coming to Congress in 2007, but quickly ascertained that it simply wasn’t feasible to be as all-inclusive as he would have liked on that grand a scale. 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 26, 2014

Illinoisans Invited to Toast Statehood Day

The Illinois State Society is throwing down on Dec. 3 in the Capitol Visitor Center for Illinois Statehood Day. And any Land of Lincolners looking to get their Prairie State on are welcome to partake.

Illinois Republican Sen. Mark S. Kirk is expected to host the reception, which is scheduled to take place from 6 to 8 p.m. in HVC 201.

Illinoisans Invited to Toast Statehood Day

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Cmdr. Jess Porter, future skipper of the USS Illinois — a nuclear submarine in the making — is slotted to be the guest of honor. Kirk is a former Naval reservist himself.

If you hail from the state, or work for someone who does, register now (via the Illinois State Society page) to enjoy free food and drink.

Roll Call Results Map: Results and District Profiles for Every Seat

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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 17, 2014

Congressional Ribbing Devolves Into Game of Moans

Mischief makers in the employ of Tennessee Republican Marsha Blackburn went medieval on one of their own in an ongoing prank war commemorating everyone’s unrelenting march toward grim death.

Deputy Chief of Staff Mike Reynard, who formally entered middle age (Happy 40th!) on Sunday, discovered a certain cherished memory plastered across the entryway to his workplace upon strolling into Cannon Monday.

Congressional Ribbing Devolves Into Game of Moans

(Courtesy HOH tipster)

“Given the history of good family fun in our office, it came as no surprise to me. I figured winter was coming,” Reynard said of the snapshot of him perched atop the ultimate seat of power from HBO’s bloody, incest-driven family drama, “Game of Thrones.” Full story

November 14, 2014

Tim Ryan Concentrates on Keeping Mindfulness Around

Rep. Tim Ryan is expected to share his thought-provoking life hacks with the Zen seekers assembling in Arlington, Va., for the Mindful Leadership Summit.

Tim Ryan Concentrates on Keeping Mindfulness Around

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ryan, who has urged colleagues to take better care of themselves, is scheduled to be interviewed about his own contemplative practices Nov. 14 at 4:45 p.m.

According to the Ohio Democrat, everyone — moms, dads, corporate CEOs, fellow pols — can make a difference by becoming more attuned to the modern world.

“I think everybody’s a leader today. We’re all dealing with the same challenges of information overload and constant connection to our work,” he told HOH.

Full story

November 13, 2014

Hill Staffers Soldier Through Bison Day Reception

Congress had been gone for weeks before trickling back into town Wednesday for the latest lame-duck session. A few hundred congressional aides celebrated the triumphant return of the resurgent Republican Party by getting their fill (and then some) of food, drink and plush collectibles at the National Bison Day reception.

Hill Staffers Soldier Through Bison Day Reception

Attendees mingling in Dirksen during the National Bison Day reception. (Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The annual soiree, which took place in Dirksen, attracted scores of staffers and interns but few lawmakers. Projected guest speaker Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., turned out to be a no-show, but event organizers noted that Rep. José E. Serrano, D-N.Y., managed to swing by for a bit.

By the time this roving reporter penetrated the herd, the promised bison sliders and gourmet meatballs had been devoured. The food basically gone (save for a lone bowl of broken, pathetic-looking potato chips), partygoers turned their attention to sucking dry every last bottle of Budweiser and Bud Light bartenders could fish from icy bins.

Hill Staffers Soldier Through Bison Day Reception

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

“It’s way too wobbly. It would probably only take one person to knock it over,” a visibly buzzed guest estimated while eyeballing the evening’s oversized star attraction. Full story

November 7, 2014

Bend the Elbow With Northwesterners at Annual Beer Fest

The state societies for expats from Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington are once again taking over the North Hall of Eastern Market to celebrate their favorite regional export: craft beer.

The annual “Go West Beer Fest” is scheduled to take place Nov. 14 from 7 to 10 p.m. and will feature, for the very first time, signature pours from Seattle-based Elysian Brewing Company.

Non-members can get a taste of what they’ve been missing by forking over $30 — a fee which has, in past years, entitled guests to unlimited pours from participating breweries (Redhook, Big Sky and Deschutes).

According to one organizer, mobile vendors DC Slices (specializing in thin crust pies and fully loaded tater tots) and Dirty South Deli (grilled Andouille sausage and pimento cheese sammie, please) have been tasked with making sure that visiting bellies remain full.

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