Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 25, 2014

April 12, 2013

McCotter Sues Former Staffers for Forged Ballot Signatures

Ex-Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich., is taking two former staffers to court, suing them for the fraudulent nomination petitions that ultimately led to his resignation from Congress in July.

In the lawsuit filed in Michigan’s Wayne County Circuit Court on Thursday, McCotter alleges that the two aides deliberately submitted forged ballot petitions to foil his re-election efforts, according to The Associated Press.

The former fringe 2012 GOP presidential hopeful filed the suit against his former deputy district director, Don Yowchuang, 34, and former intern, Dillon Breen, 20. Full story

April 11, 2013

Ex-Lawmakers to Explore Whether the Truth Is Out There

Stephen Bassett, an extraterrestrial issues activist, believes the time has come for Congress to open up about visitors from space.

While waiting, though, Bassett and his organizations, Paradigm Research Group and Citizen Hearing on Disclosure, are spending thousands of dollars for former members of Congress to hold a 30-hour “hearing” at the National Press Club from April 29 to May 3.

Bassett’s groups will pay $20,000 each to six former members — Sen. Mike Gravel, D-Alaska, and Reps. Darlene Hooley, D-Ore.;  Merrill Cook, R-Utah; Roscoe G. Bartlett, R-Md.; Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Mich.; and Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif. — to preside over the “citizen hearing” as if they were on the Hill.
Full story

Celebrating Moran’s and Campbell’s Pet Projects

The Washington Humane Society will figuratively pat congressional animal-loving Reps. James P. Moran, D-Va., and John Campbell, R-Calif., on the head Saturday during the 7th annual Fashion for Paws gala.

The co-chairmen of the Animal Protection Caucus will be jointly honored with the 2013 Humane Hero Award, recognition for their work on the behalf of our four-legged friends everywhere.

Tickets to the glitzy shindig, scheduled from 8 p.m. to midnight at the National Building Museum, are $150 per person and benefit the Washington Humane Society.
Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 7:07 p.m.

Taste of the South Readies Down-Home Comforts

Washington’s Southern belles and their beaus will glam up Saturday night for the annual Taste of the South at DAR Constitution Hall.

Tickets for the charity gala ­— $125 per person ­— sold out within two weeks, according to the event’s chairwoman, Alyson Gabel, primarily to staffers and lobbyists excited for drinks, dancing and down-home delicacies from 13 Southern states in the name of a good cause.

Since Taste of the South’s founding in 1982, the event annually has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charitable initiatives throughout the South. This year’s featured charity is Mercy House, a nonprofit based in Harrisonburg, Va., that helps homeless families. Proceeds will also help The Fishing School, a D.C.-based youth development organization, and other charities from the host states.
Full story

Overheard on the Hill

“First time I can remember having a joint Democrats and Republicans lunch since I’ve been here.”

Sen. Bob Corker, regarding Thursday’s joint-caucus Senate lunch to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Sen. John McCain’s release from a North Vietnamese war prison.

By Emily Cadei Posted at 7:04 p.m.

Ex-Lawmakers to Investigate Extra-Terrestrials

Former members of Congress will bring their investigative chops back to Washington later this month to get to the bottom of an issue that has vexed scientists in both the U.S. government as well as the “X-Files” for years — the existence of extraterrestrial life and the U.S. government’s alleged cover-up of the issue.

According to the group Citizen Hearing on Disclosure, ex-Sen. Mike Gravel, D-Alaska, ex-Rep. Darlene Hooley, D-Ore., ex-Rep. Merrill Cook, R-Utah, ex-Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., ex-Rep Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Mich., and ex-Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., “will attempt to accomplish what the Congress has failed to do for forty-five years — seek out the facts surrounding the most important issue of this or any other time.”

The former members will convene their hearings, to span 30 hours, from April 29-May 3.

Full story

By Neda Semnani Posted at 1:39 p.m.

April 10, 2013

Bid Your Way to Being a Political Influencer

We’ve been sequestered. The economy is still sputtering along. And the tax man is demanding to get paid next week.

Amazingly, some folks out there appear to have extra loot lying around. And, if auction website Charitybuzz is to be believed, aspiring philanthropists are not afraid to trade big bucks for entry into the political arena.

Why risk having your dirty laundry aired by running for office when you can simply cut a check — granted, by all appearances it’ll have to be a fairly big one — and spend a summer afternoon sailing with Ted Kennedy Jr.? This day trip to Hyannis Port, Mass., has an estimated value of $15,000 (proceeds benefit the Austen Riggs psychiatric center), but was going for roughly a third of that at press time.
Full story

Reichert Still Carries Green River Killer Case With Him Years Later

While many members of Congress proverbially cut their teeth in politics, Rep. Dave Reichert’s throat was cut with a butcher knife. The Washington Republican faced down perps with loaded shotguns pointed at him. And he developed an empathy for runaways because he was once one himself.

As sheriff of King County in his home state, Reichert investigated kidnappings and murders, and rose to prominence by helping bring down the infamous Green River Killer, Gary Ridgway.

“It has become a part of me,” Reichert told HOH as he prepared for a panel discussion on the case Wednesday night at the Naval Heritage Center in D.C. “It was such a tragic and dramatic time in my life and [that of] every investigator that worked on the case.”
Full story

Minnesota Delegation Digs Into Annual Hotdish Fight

It’s not every day that you get to watch members of Congress battle it out over who can make the best hotdish. But for HOH, Wednesday was that glorious, calorie-laden day.

Senate Democrat Al Franken hosted the third annual Minnesota delegation “Hotdish Cook Off” in the Russell Senate Office Building.

Minnesota Delegation Digs Into Annual Hotdish Fight

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Ex-Reps. Vin Weber, R-Minn., and Gerry Sikorski, D-Minn., pulled bipartisan judging duty, sampling each of the nine featured dishes and ultimately weighing in on their favorite.

After great deliberation, House Democrat Tim Walz took top honors and earned bragging rights for his dish, dubbed “Hermann The German Hotdish” after a bobblehead statue of the Hermann Monument in New Ulm, Minn.

Full story

Capitol Quip: Five Captions Ready to Blossom

Capitol Quip: Five Captions Ready to Blossom

Here are the five finalists for this week’s caption contest. Now it’s your turn to vote.

Using the comments section below, vote for your favorite caption until 5 p.m. Thursday.

Here are this week’s finalists:

  • This is nice, but until Congress gets their act together, I fear it’s all just bloom and gloom.
  • Looks like we are seeing 5 percent less growth this year.
  • So it IS true — Washington really is full of flakes!
  • Couldn’t we just tiptoe through the tulips?
  • Too bad we can’t tax cherry blossoms. Wait a sec …

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on April 15 and in Monday’s print edition of Roll Call. The contest winner will receive a signed color print of his or her Capitol Quip cartoon from the cartoonist, R.J. Matson.

By Jason Dick Posted at 6:04 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Booze and a Boat Breed Bipartisanship

Nothing brings Democratic and Republican senators together like some time alone on a yacht, says Sen. Mark S. Kirk.

Speaking to reporters about his work on firearm background checks and other gun-related legislation, the Illinois Republican told a gaggle of reporters that credit for bipartisan efforts in the Senate are in part thanks to visits to the Black Tie, a vessel that is partially owned by Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va.

“You guys really ought to go out to National Harbor and see the Black Tie, which has been much of the reason for much of the bipartisan cooperation around here,” Kirk said.

Kirk said Sens. Kay Hagan, a North Carolina Democrat and Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, are frequent visitors. Asked about the menu at the gatherings, Kirk didn’t say much, though he indicated some booze might be consumed.

“Sometimes alcoholic beverages might be served and ties might … get loosened,” Kirk said.

Manchin and Kirk are best of friends in the Senate, in both their work and personal lives. Manchin flew to Chicago to visit Kirk in January 2012, not long after the junior Illinois senator suffered a stroke that kept him away from the chamber for a year.

As HOH has previously reported, Kirk has called the West Virginian “My Main Man Manch;” while Manchin’s called his pal an “Energizer Bunny.”

Immigration Reformers Swarm Capitol Hill

What better way to spend an unsettlingly hot sprummer day than to turn the heat up on Congress to do something, anything on the immigration reform front?

This seemingly endless sea of predominantly Latino humanity appeared determined to do just that, chanting and cheering their way from Union Station towards the larger rally already amassing Wednesday on the sun-splashed West Lawn of the Capitol.

For anyone who might have nodded off during high school Spanish class, that last group was yelling, “Obama, escucha/Estamos en la lucha!” (That’s “Listen up, Obama/We’re in this fight together!”)

Wrong, So Wrong: Your Afternoon LULZ, Courtesy of MSNBC

One eagle-eyed HOH reader sent us this quick shot of the “gang of eight” in the House of Representatives as it flashed across MSNBC.

Can you pick out what’s wrong with this picture?

Wrong, So Wrong: Your Afternoon LULZ, Courtesy of MSNBC

Well, my dears, the eight lawmakers pictured above are not, in fact, senators. They are members of the House of Representatives. Mostly, they stick with the “Rep.” prefix.

Further, take a good look at “Sen. Diaz-Balart.” This is not Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla. This a picture of the congressman’s brother, Jose, who is an anchor on Telemundo.

Softball: Member-Vs.-Member Senate Race Brewing on Women’s Team

One of the few respites from partisanship in Washington is the Congressional Women’s Softball team. That could all change in June.

Earlier Wednesday, our friends over at CQ Roll Call’s “At The Races” blog reported that Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., will spend from now until June contemplating a run for Senate.

Here’s the rub: Ellmers is set to play on the bipartisan softball team. If she runs, it will be a challenge against Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., a perennial player. Full story

Making Friends on Budget Day

Giddy to get in a good shot at President Barack Obama, Lone Star State Republican Rep. Pete Olson fired off this flippant non-read of the newly released White House budget:

Making Friends on Budget Day



But his constituent Justin Kugler didn’t seem terribly impressed:

Making Friends on Budget Day


Best of luck patching things up before 2014!


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