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February 18, 2014
Zimbabwean authorities on Tuesday arrested former congressman and convicted felon Mel Reynolds under suspicion of possessing pornographic material and violating immigration protocol.
Reynolds’ diplomatic problems, first reported by The Associated Press, are just the latest embarrassment in a short-lived political career dominated by scandal.
The Illinois Democrat was elected in 1992 to the House and re-elected in 1994 but never completed his second term, resigning in 1995 following a conviction on sexual misconduct charges stemming from an affair with an underage campaign aide. Reynolds was found guilty of misusing campaign funds and bank fraud two years later. He spent a couple of years in prison but was pardoned in 2001 by President Bill Clinton.
Former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr., who last fall was sentenced to 30 months in prison for helping himself to $750,000 in campaign funds, had replaced Reynolds after his initial fall from grace. Democratic Rep. Robin Kelly won a special election to succeed Jackson in the 2nd District in early 2013.
Reynolds unsuccessfully attempted to mount a comeback in 2004, vying to unseat Jackson, and again last year, in an attempt to succeed his successor.
“The bottom line is my past is my past,” Reynolds assured Roll Call a decade ago. “I don’t wear mistakes that I have made as a badge of shame, just as I don’t wear all of my accomplishments as a badge of confidence.”
If there’s any truer maxim on Capitol Hill, it is this: Don’t mess with the staff assistants. Especially when it comes to “House of Cards” spoilers.
On Friday when federal government workers were ordered to work, on a delayed start, at least one junior staffer was none too pleased about the circumstances. The aide issued a stark warning at 12:23 p.m. to colleagues on the infamous White House Tours Listserv: leak any details about the Season Two Netflix release and get the boot.
Here’s the full text:
I know a lot of us are excited for the new season of House of Cards and due to Snowchi being fickle with additional snow we can’t watch the new season at home. So this is just a warning, anyone who mentions House of Cards spoilers in their emails will be automatically kicked off the list.
Officially, the Listserv is a means for office White House Tour coordinators to communicate and trade tour slots for constituents.
So, all of this begs the question: Did anyone spill the beans?
February 16, 2014
The public’s opinion of Congress is about as popular as the thought of another massive snow storm on the East Coast. Oh, and it’s an election year! Who is going to be able to dodge the voters’ ire? That brings us to this week’s Capitol Quip.
Send us a caption for this week’s contest by leaving it in the comments section. Editors will pick five finalists on Wednesday, and everyone can vote for the winner through Thursday.
To see our previous winners, check us out on Pinterest.
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. Check out our past winners on Pinterest.
February 14, 2014
“Community” star and “The Soup” host Joel McHale has been charged with bringing the funny to this year’s White House Correspondents Dinner.
The annual “nerd prom” is scheduled to take place at the Washington Hilton on May 3.
“We’re thrilled that Joel will headline the dinner when we celebrate our centennial,” White House Correspondents Association president Steven Thomma trumpeted in a release. “He’s sharp, funny, and just the type of comic who can navigate the unique challenge of our dinner, making fun of Democrats, Republicans and especially the news media. Washington can use a little good-natured ribbing.” Full story
Following last week’s five-minute extravaganza, HOH keeps it short and sweet this week as the IRS lurks in the shadows, clerks struggle with Roman numerals and Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., tells us about the familiar situation of the frog on the stove in a pot of hot water.
February 13, 2014
Not having an official vote undoubtedly makes it tougher for D.C. shadow Sen. Paul Strauss to stand out as much as he’d like around Capitol Hill.
He appears to have no such trouble on the West Coast, a powerbase the local pol has been cultivating for over a decade in the hopes of getting Hollywood to back D.C. statehood.
Why shovel when you can spoon?
This has been a public service announcement from a Capitol Hill watering hole.
(We now return you to your Netflix binging.)
Comedian Bill Maher is considering all options before determining which House lawmaker he’ll try to unseat later this fall.
If the torrent of #flipadistrict nominees that irate constituents have splashed across social media are any indication, Maher should have no shortage of targets to choose from.
Maher provided an update about the fledgling campaign on his show “Real Time,” stressing that his team is still very much in the research phase.
“We are looking to find one really bad congressman out there. And, apparently, from the reaction we got last week, there are a lot of them … really gerrymandered lamos who people want to get rid of,” Maher told his HBO viewers. He urged people to nominate “someone who represents you who you think is a lemon, … someone who is just a useless waste of space.”
February 12, 2014
Newly installed Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen has already mastered the art of agreeing without conceding anything: Energy has been a great contributor to growth. Certainly regulation has an impact on the economy. The monetary policy of any country affects other countries. We will monitor the impact of the rule. I think it remains an interesting possibility. We have to be very careful not to jump to conclusions. These and other bromides she served warm to Tuesday’s House Financial Services Committee hearing.
Jeb Hensarling, the Texas Republican who chairs the committee, wants to know if Yellen would be a “sensible central banker.” One wished Yellen might be a Gilbert and Sullivan fan and give the hearing a rousing, “I am the very model of a sensible central banker.” Full story
The five finalists for this week’s caption contest are ready for your votes.
Using the comments section below, vote for your favorite caption until 5 p.m. ET Thursday.
Here are this week’s finalists:
- Remember that slippery slope we kept warning you about, John? Well …
- He gets his Left and Right Turns confused!!
- Uh, maybe if you took your hand off the brake?
- Wouldn’t we go faster if we pushed DOWN the hill?
- I’ll give him a push, but I ain’t jumping in!
The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on Feb. 16 and in the following 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.
Hurried meetings on Capitol Hill might do for social media pushers or app designers.
But the business execs in charge of skippering a good portion of the country’s seafood supply to market prefer to slow things down a bit, serving up the delicious fruits of their labor and talking big picture when they sail into town.
Members of the Gulf Coast Industry Council and the East Coast Shellfish Association will get the chance to do just that during their upcoming “Let the World Be Your Oyster” reception. The annual outreach effort, now in its 20th year, is scheduled to take place Feb. 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Acadiana (901 New York Ave. NW).
Attendees will be treated to a smorgasbord of regional specialties, lovingly prepared by visiting chefs from across Louisiana. Featured items include: oysters on the half shell courtesy of Acme Oyster House in New Orleans; oyster Rockefeller soup (fashioned from fresh oysters, butter, chopped spinach, Pernod and more) courtesy of Randol’s Restaurant in Lafayette; oysters voisin (fried oysters, creamed spinach, bacon, bordelaise sauce and extra cheese spooned over toasted baguettes) courtesy of Drago’s Seafood Restaurants; pickled oysters with sea beans, radish and caviar courtesy of Cotton in Monroe; open-faced oyster ravioli courtesy of Ruffino’s Restaurants; and charbroiled oysters courtesy of Acadiana toque Jeff Tunks. Full story
Cupid had better steer clear of the Capitol this Valentine’s Day.
House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul D. Irving has requested that staffers advise their sweeties to refrain from sending any crimson roses or romantic gift packages to the offices under his purview.
The delivery policy of the House prohibits commercial couriers and vendors from making deliveries directly to House office buildings and the House wing of the Capitol, Irving warned in a memo to staff obtained by CQ Roll Call.
Singing telegrams ready to deliver a serenade will be turned away at the door, and FedEx can’t bring cuddly stuffed animals or chocolate hearts past security checkpoints.
Couples who exchange gifts on Friday morning can bring the long-stemmed roses they receive to their desks, but guidelines apply. Only cut flowers set in water or “arranged in an unsealed box or carton” are allowed inside. In case of a surprise delivery or a persistent Valentine who insists on workday delivery, staffers can meet delivery people bearing cut flowers in an outside public area and bring the bouquet inside themselves.
Sealed envelopes and containers are not allowed, so sappy cards and love letters must be opened outside. Boxes of caramels, truffles or other sugary spoils also need to be unsealed.
Finally, last-minute declarations of affection might be thwarted by the House policy on overnight deliveries. All flowers, cards, candy or lovey-dovey gifts sent via a nationwide system such as FedEx or UPS will be processed offsite at the Postal Operations screening facility, “which may result in delay of delivery,” Irving warns.
In past years, Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance Gainer has implemented a similar policy to ensure Senate lovebirds can receive Valentine’s Day bouquets delivered to Capitol Hill.
The Senate office buildings and the Senate side of the Capitol also allow only cut flowers set in water or arranged in an unsealed box or carton, and place the same prohibition on sealed envelopes or containers.
Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., might not be “booty poppin’ in a headstand,” but he did vote for Obamacare, and the Republican National Committee would like you to know — in seven web ads attacking 2014 Senate Democrats that seem to lift beats from B.o.B. featuring 2Chainz’s song “Headband.”
The 40-second Web-only spots can be viewed here. They hit Pryor, along with Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Mark Udall of Colorado and Mark Warner of Virginia, all of whom are up for re-election in 2014.
“Out of work? It’s tough out there,” the ad reads, before splicing together clips on the health care law and a Congressional Budget Office report about its impacts on the job market (which, of course, lacks the context for what the report really said, because … YOLO, it’s 40 seconds).
Now, here is the video for the B.o.B./2 Chainz jam. HOH should warn you that many of the lyrics are NSFW and there are quite a few scantily clad ladies featured throughout. But everything is sort of amazing when you think about the RNC’s message against the seven vulnerable Democrats set to this beat.
“She broke it down started moving like Shakira/Like she do it in the mirror,” a cleaner lyric reads.
Whatever. Maybe the beats are different and the RNC added a “little bitty ting.”
“I can assure you we purchased this music and didn’t steal anything,” RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said in an e-mail.
February 11, 2014
It’s one hot ticket: Not just a State Dinner, but a State Dinner for the president of France, Francois Hollande. How would you like to be the chef in charge of the souffle tonight?
Members of Congress have gotten a lot of cold shoulders from the White House during the Obama presidency, having seen traditional picnics and socials be postponed, then canceled, for instance. So how did the legislative branch come out on the invite list?
A roster from the Office of the First Lady shows 11 current members of Congress on the guest list, although FLOTUS tried goose the number to 12 by promoting Georgia state Rep. Stacey Abrams to federal office by identifying her as “United States Representative (Georgia).” Oh, well. They’ll just have to wait for an intervening election.
Here’s the list of members attending:
Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif.
Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md.
Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky.
Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif.
Rep. Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis.
Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.
For those of you keeping score at home, that’s eight House members and three senators. Among those, there are seven Democrats and four Republicans.
Noted congressional alumni are former Sen. Max Cleland, D-Ga., who is now secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission; former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., now secretary of Defense, and former Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., currently secretary of State, along with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., formerly the distinguished senator from Delaware.