Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 1, 2014

Posts in "Staffers"

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.

July 7, 2014

Stan Lee and John Lewis: The Drawing of the Two

Some lawmakers enjoy being able to drop out of sight during recess. Others, such as critically acclaimed graphic novelist/Rep. John Lewis, find it much harder to disentangle from the swirling celebrity life.

Case in point: fans of the Georgia Democrat simply could not resist prodding him together with comics legend Stan Lee — you know, the guy who created all those spandex-clad superheroes that lord over movie screens every summer and has done cameos in many of the Marvel flicks — during a chance meeting in Las Vegas.

Stan Lee and John Lewis: The Drawing of the Two

(Courtesy Andrew Aydin)

“It was totally by accident, but as soon as they were near each other, people started pushing them together. I grabbed my phone as quick as I could and snapped the picture,” Andrew Aydin, congressional aide and co-author of “March,” the illustrated tale of Lewis’ Civil Rights Era activism, told HOH.

Per Aydin, it was the first time they had crossed paths with the nonagenarian wellspring from which the likes of Spiderman, the Hulk and the X-Men had flowed since officially joining the comic writing verse last summer.

“Neither of us had ever met him before,” Aydin said of the serendipitous encounter. A lifelong reader (“I gushed like a fanboy,” he admitted), Aydin was thrilled to hear Lee chatting with his boss about “March” and just generally soaked in the absolutely magical moment. Full story

June 30, 2014

Franken Feasts on Minnesota State Fair Menu Items (Video)

The eating extravaganza that is the Minnesota State Fair may still be months away, but Sen. Al Franken is already beating the drum about the heart-stopping offerings that attendees will encounter along the midway later this summer.

 

 

The fair, which is scheduled to wreak havoc on Midwestern waistlines from Aug. 21 until Sept. 1, is expected to field more than two dozen new foodstuffs. Those debut taste sensations run the gamut from moderately healthy (all-natural, frozen fruit smoothie pop, anyone?) to downright deadly (breakfast Juicy Lucys forged from twin, cheese-stuffed sausage patties piled high on an English muffin).

Last year, the Minnesota Democrat bowed to his constituents’ wishes and sampled an order of fried pickles accompanied by chocolate dipping sauce:

According to a spokeswoman, Franken is excited to sink his teeth into a Bison Dog (hickory-smoked, pasture-raised buffalo link smothered in pickles and peppers). The adventurous aide, meanwhile, said she was looking forward to experiencing the “chicken in a waffle” creation. Full story

June 25, 2014

Ike Skelton Auction Items Illustrate the Softer Side of Public Service

The Kansas City Auction and Appraisal Company has cataloged a treasure trove of personal effects and private letters the late Rep. Ike Skelton amassed throughout his career and has made them all available to interested buyers through June 30.

Ike Skelton Auction Items Illustrate the Softer Side of Public Service

(Screenshot)

The Missouri Democrat, who spent more than 30 years in the House and served two terms as House Armed Services Committee chairman, died of pneumonia in late 2013.

Kansas City Auction owner Jason Roske told HOH his team spent months sorting through the myriad congressional correspondence and politically-related knick-knacks supplied by the estate in order to curate the 356 lots that compromise the “Ike Skelton Collection.”

“There were well over 1,000 documents that we had to go through, piece by piece,” he said of the carefully picked over political ephemera.

The assembled offerings run the gamut from breezy collegial how-do-you-dos — including exchanges with ex-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz.; the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawaii; and Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill Jr., D-Mass. — to White House bill signings reaching back decades.

“As far as we can tell, there just have not been a lot of opportunities to sell a collection like this. Period,” Roske said. Full story

Sign In

Forgot password?

Or

Subscribe

Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...