Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 23, 2014

June 10, 2013

Ralph Hall Lets His Hair Down

It’s not every day you spot a lifelong conservative mingling with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender crowd. But, as we’ve learned here at HOH, magic happens within these walls on a regular basis.

The fish-out-of-water sighting this time around involves Rep. Ralph M. Hall, R-Texas, enjoying the hospitality provided by the Victory Fund during its June 5 reception in the Rayburn House Office Building foyer:

Ralph Hall Lets His Hair Down

(Courtesy HOH tipster)

We can’t be sure how many other snowy-haired nonagenarians were floating around the gay-pride shindig, but Hall had to be the only person in the room who both helped co-found a hyper-vocal wing of his previous party (the Blue Dog Democrats) and has a solid “B” average (hasn’t dropped below 84 percent) from the American Conservative Union over the past decade.

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Prankster Wants to Jam NSA Lines

Cyber-warriors looking to sling a little mud in PRISM’s all-seeing eye are calling on outraged Americans to join them in disrupting the National Security Agency’s phone/email dragnet on Wednesday.

The plan, to effectively “jam up the NSA’s scanners” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, hinges on having LOTS of people reach out and touch someone with this deliberately loaded message:

Prankster Wants to Jam NSA Lines


“We created the site as a fun comment on the current controversy. We’d love it if the NSA saw it,” the rabble-rouser told HOH. Full story

‘Dirty Wars’ Director Dishes About Tight-Lipped Members of Congress

LOS ANGELES — Interviewing Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., about drone warfare was both frustrating and enlightening, the director of the new documentary “Dirty Wars” told a sold-out screening here about talking to the member of the Senate Intelligence Committee about classified targeted-killing campaigns.

“It was completely comical sitting down there in that interview,” Richard Rowley told an after-film discussion audience on June 7 about his visit with Wyden.

Dirty Wars Director Dishes About Tight Lipped Members of Congress

Rowley discusses the new documentary after a June 7 screening in Los Angeles. (Julie Ershadi/CQ Roll Call)

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June 9, 2013

Can You Hear Me Now? | Capitol Quip

Can You Hear Me Now? | Capitol Quip

Illustrator R.J. Matson’s latest cartoon needs a caption.

So the National Security Agency is using a top-secret program called PRISM to directly access the servers of the biggest Internet giants, including Microsoft and Google. What other surveillance surprises could the Capitol and public be in for?

Leave us your caption in the comments section below. Editors will pick five finalists on Wednesday, and then everyone can vote for the winner until Thursday afternoon. The winner gets a signed print from Matson.

By Jason Dick Posted at 7:35 p.m.
Capitol Quip

The Bachmann/Dole Ticket’s Gothic Presence | Capitol Quip

The Bachmann/Dole Tickets Gothic Presence | Capitol Quip

Thanks to the many readers who contributed captions for last week’s Capitol Quip contest. Here’s the winning entry as voted by readers of Heard on the Hill.

The winner will receive a signed color print suitable for framing from Roll Call cartoonist R.J. Matson.

June 7, 2013

Prosecutors Want 4 Years for Jesse Jackson Jr.

Federal prosecutors are seeking a four-year prison sentence for former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr., D-Ill., but it could be years before he begins serving his prison term.

According to channel 5 NBC Chicago, prosecutors filed a sentencing memo today asking District Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the District Court for the District of Columbia to sentence the Illinois Democrat to four years in prison and to pay $750,000 in restitution to his campaign coffers, in addition to a forfeiture money judgment of the same amount.

Prosecutors recommended that Jackson’s wife, former Chicago Alderman Sandi Jackson, be sentenced to 18 months in prison for filing false joint federal income tax returns. They recommended she pay restitution of about $168,500.

The former congressman’s prison term could be delayed, though, because prosecutors recommended staggering the Jacksons’ prison terms, for the sake of their children, and recommended that Sandi Jackson begin serving her term first.

By Jason Dick Posted at 6:53 p.m.

Business Types Haul Innovation, Ice Cream to the Hill

To successfully court Congress, groups need to make sure they’ve got a few bases covered — celebrity activists, fresh-faced constituents and, of course, free food being chief among them.

Junior Achievement USA has bagged two out of three for their upcoming presser, an event marrying entrepreneurial teens with patriotic sweets.

“What’s more American than small-business ownership, ice cream and apple pie?” a JA aide said of a “trade fair/ice cream social” scheduled to take place from 2:30 to 5 p.m. on June 18 in the Cannon House Office Building Caucus Room.

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C-SPAN Flogs Founding Document

We’d rather have a remix of their infamous quorum call playlist.

But, alas, C-SPAN plans to spend June 11-12 passing out 5,000 quick-flip versions of the U.S. Constitution on Capitol Hill, not ear candy.

C SPAN Flogs Founding Document

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Although its eponymous tour bus will be parked miles away at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center (for the National Cable and Telecommunications Association convention), C-SPAN staffers will trek to the Capitol South and Union Station Metro stops to distribute the iconic booklets. Staffers will be handing out gratis copies from 7:45 to 9 a.m. and again from noon to 1:30 p.m. at both locations.

With the next Conservative Political Action Conference months away and ex-Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich, D-Ohio, now out of the picture, this may be your only chance to pocket a piece of history without having to crash a libertarian happy hour.

Joining the Ros-Lehtinen Army

Getting to wander the halls of Congress is often reward enough for the unpaid idealists who regularly keep Capitol Hill chugging along.

Those who crave face time with global leaders and intimate nosh-fests with the boss would be wise to forward their applications to the office of Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

Joining the Ros Lehtinen Army

(Courtesy Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen)

An aide said the Florida Republican usually accepts around a half-dozen interns during fall and spring, but really beefs up the ranks — recruiting 15-20 youthful charges — when summer rolls around. Along with tending to everyday duties (answering phones, cataloging constituent mail, attending hearings), Ros-Lehtinen makes a point of exposing the budding politicos to the power players who routinely pop up under the Dome.

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June 6, 2013

The Dean: The Longest-Serving Member’s Career in Photos

Rep. John D. Dingell becomes the longest-serving member of Congress on Friday, eclipsing the record of the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd at 57 years, five months and 26 days.

The House will fete him next week for his distinguished career.

Dingell’s time in Congress predates him being a member, as he attended the Capitol Page School while his father, the late Rep. John Dingell, was a House member.

He was elected to succeed his father in December 1955 and has fashioned a career championing health care and overseeing wide swaths of the U.S. economy from his position atop the Energy and Commerce Committee. Here is a selection of images by our photographers and from the CQ Roll Call archives that represents but a sample of the Michigan Democrat’s storied career.

The Dean: The Longest Serving Members Career in Photos

His 1939 Capitol Page School class photo (Dingell is bottom row, ninth from the right).

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At 201 Bar, Union Pub, You Can Drink to Support Frager’s Hardware

Drink for a cause!

Our good friends over at Cloture Club point out that 201 Bar and Union Pub are donating 15 percent of their sales Thursday night toward the Frager’s Fire Fund.

Get to work, Capitol Hill!

John Dingell, Wooing the (Future) Press

Rep. John D. Dingell, D-Mich., who becomes the longest-serving member of Congress on Friday, has never shied away from a constituent event, even those at which there is a dearth of voting-age participants. Such is certainly the case in this late 1980s photo taken at Custer Elementary School in Monroe, Mich., which also happens to feature Roll Call Managing Editor Katie Smith. That’s her in the peach shirt immediately to the left of Dingell.


John Dingell, Wooing the (Future) Press

Smith, now managing editor of Roll Call and seated second from left, listens to Dingell’s presentation at Custer Elementary School. (Courtesy Katie Smith)

Norton’s Shout-Out to Frager’s Hardware

During a speech on the House floor Thursday afternoon, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., lamented the “horrendous, hot and unusual” four-alarm fire that engulfed Frager’s Hardware on Wednesday night.

Nortons Shout Out to Fragers Hardware

Residents could only watch as the fire department battled the flames. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call.)

The fire “stirred up something in me like the emotion I felt when Eastern Market went up in flames,” Norton said and compared destruction of the neighborhood institution to “losing a friend, a human friend that is.”

Norton described the “pungent smell” she encountered around her Capitol Hill home and said she had trouble navigating Pennsylvania Avenue on Wednesday night after the congressional baseball social at Nationals Park.

She also praised Frager’s for the quirky, antique inventory squeezed throughout the store, noting that some of its goods may be “going out of style, but they are just what you need when you live in a home in the historic district.”

Norton plans to visit the store again this evening to check out the damage, particularly Frager’s large, outdoor nursery — her favorite spot in the store — which was spared the worst of the fire.

Eat Your Heart Out, Betsy Ross

As if commemorating National Doughnut Day (the first Friday in June) weren’t cause enough for celebration, Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken is playing the patriotism card with its latest creation:

Eat Your Heart Out, Betsy Ross

(Courtesy Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken)

The trendy treat-maker will roll out 200 “Raspberry Blueberry” donuts, each filled with a combination of raspberry and blueberry jams, on Friday morning.

The specialty sweets will run $3 a pop, with all of the proceeds benefiting the military-family-supporting Fisher House Foundation.

According to a release from the fry-happy startup, chef/founder Jason Gehring designed the Old Glory-inspired pastry to honor his brother, Travis Gehring, a Navy vet (1999-2007).

So, do your duty. Eat more doughnuts.

By Warren Rojas Posted at 4:03 p.m.

All Aboard, Hill Millennials: Time to See America

Have you ever seen America roll out before you like a picture postcard? When was the last time you got to sit and talk, and brainstorm, explore and create for days and days on end?

According to Patrick Dowd, 26, founder of The Millennial Trains Project, here’s your chance.

On Aug. 8, a caravan of gorgeous, lovingly refurbished classic 20th-century train cars will leave Silicon Valley, Calif., for Washington, D.C. Over 10 days, the train will stop at 10 cities, including San Francisco; Reno, Nev.; Salt Lake City; Omaha, Neb.; Denver; Chicago; Cleveland; Pittsburgh; Martinsburg, W.Va.; and D.C.

“There are 10 spots on the train reserved for 10 different professional categories, which include entrepreneurs, public servants, thinkers, innovators, academics, performers and others,” Dowd said. “To get a spot on the train, you pitch a project you want to advance in different communities. Then you ‘race’ to be one of the first 10 people in your professional category to meet your fundraising goal. Then you get on the train.”

Each of the up-to-100 young people are to have crowdsourced the $5,000, which would cover the cost of their trip. Like the people applying, the proposed projects are wildly diverse and include an oncologist who has proposed a scientifically inspired art project; a nonprofit leader who plans to research the effect of open data on local governments; an economist working on a short documentary; a graffiti artist who will collaborate with local artists to create murals for social change; and a press secretary who will embark on 10 days of poetry.

The projects can relate closely to a person’s work or their area of legislative expertise, Dowd explained. “It can also be a great opportunity to go far afield, do something that doesn’t have anything to do with your work.”

“The only thing we screen for is the sincerity of the project that people are putting forth,” he said. “And anyone age 18 to 34 is eligible to apply, so you can be a 30-year-old legislative director for the speaker of the House or you can be a 19-year-old intern or a freshman congressman and you have just as good a chance of getting on board the train.”

Participants will work with on-train mentors from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, State Department, City Year, The Associated Press, Cornell University, National Geographic Traveler, First Round Capital, The Chronicle of Higher Education and others to advance their project in each city where the train stops.

Deadline for applications is coming up. Get your perfect August recess project started now.

Also, check out the trains:

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