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

June 13, 2013

Mary Landrieu’s Kid Arrested on DWI Charges

Frank “Connor” Snellings, the 21-year-old son of Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., was arrested Thursday morning on charges of driving while intoxicated, hit-and-run driving and driving the wrong way on a one-way street in the French Quarter, as well as possession of an alcoholic beverage in the car and not maintaining proper control of the car, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.

According to the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office, the car Snellings was driving hit a pedestrian, who was not seriously injured. Snellings and a passenger were not hurt.

“We love our son wholeheartedly, but we are extremely disappointed by his irresponsible actions last night,” Landrieu told the Times-Picayune. “These actions have serious consequences both at home and in our legal system.”

Landrieu asked people “to respect his privacy as we work through this challenging time for our family.”

Baez Tuned In to Tim Kaine

During her show Wednesday night at Wolf Trap, folk singer Joan Baez purportedly took the time to pay musical tribute to a local boy who works right here on the Hill: freshman Sen. Tim Kaine.

“Hey @JoanBaez — thanks for dedicating “Deportee” to me last night at Wolf Trap!” Kaine gloated on Twitter.

Staff told HOH the Virginia Democrat did not attend the actual concert and does not know Baez personally but that he had heard from friends who were at the show that he’d been name-checked.

Full story

Cheesemonger Serves Up FDA Protest

A Food and Drug Administration plan to curb domestic consumption of Mimolette, a French cheese that’s brought to market with the help of some microscopic, rind-chomping mites, has prompted one local businesswoman to give away the soon-to-be-contraband in protest.

According to Cheesetique Founder Jill Erber, the government crackdown was set in motion this past March, when the FDA put the brakes on further shipments of the bowling-ball-shaped fromage, trapping tons of the stuff at the port in New Jersey.

The biggest concern: that the aforementioned parasites, which Erber said remain relegated to the rough brown exterior of the cheese, might cause an unspecified allergic reaction among consumers.

“You would have to take an uncleaned wheel and rub it all over your face to get any significant exposure,” Erber argued, noting that, “Mimolette is not the only cheese in the world that has microscopic mites.”

Full story

Steve King’s Immigration SOS

Forget securing the U.S. border.

Steve King’s Immigration SOS

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Steve King is desperate to know how Senate lawmakers plan to keep the unwanted elements outside the Capitol.

The Iowa Republican sounded a distress call Thursday after several members of United We Dream, a pro-immigration overhaul outfit, showed up unannounced at his little slice of heaven in the Rayburn House Office Building.

“20 brazen self professed illegal aliens have just invaded my DC office,” King raged on social media.

Full story

Game On! Congressional Baseball Game Still on Track

Game On! Congressional Baseball Game Still on Track

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The shot callers behind the 52nd Annual CQ Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game have taken the weather warnings under consideration, but feel confident members of Congress can handle some precipitation and potentially blustery conditions.

That means the pregame Taste of America reception is still on, and the opening pitch will sail toward home plate at 7:05 p.m.

Snag your tix here.

See you at the ballpark.


By Warren Rojas Posted at 11:54 a.m.

June 12, 2013

We’re Listening! | Capitol Quip

Were Listening! | Capitol Quip

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 9 a.m. EDT Friday.

Here are this week’s finalists:

  • The administration did promise to listen to the people …
  • No more dome tours then?
  • Richard Nixon, eat your heart out.
  • I still can’t get a signal for ESPN.
  • Who says government doesn’t listen to what its citizens have to say?

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog June 17 and in that day’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 6:57 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Angry Staffer Stressed About Becoming Homeless Is Now Jobless

Domestic squabbling spilled into the halls of Congress this week, after one House staffer, perturbed at his roommate, attempted to draw co-workers into the fray by airing their dirty laundry in a nasty email.

The caustic communication hit Capitol Hill inboxes around 3:45 p.m. on Tuesday; that’s when legislative assistant Oscar Urteaga loosed his screed against new-media aide Jeff Leieritz.

An HOH tipster forwarded the expletive-filled rant, which purportedly stunned Small Business Committee aides before trickling out to less-than-amused K Street contacts.

And it’s that overreach that appears to have earned Urteaga his walking papers.

“Our office has always upheld the highest of standards for personal decorum and professionalism. Introducing personal problems into the realm of one’s professional duties is inexcusable and will not be tolerated,” Urteaga’s supervisor explained after terminating the loose cannon.

As is often the case between feuding bros, the source of the intrahousehold friction appears to be a woman: a newly minted fiancee, to be exact.

Full story

Weather to Play or Not, That Is the Question | Congressional Baseball Game

If you’ve heard any weather predictions for the Washington area lately, we could get anything from light rain to a derecho or tornado or frogs falling from the sky in the next day or two.

With the 52nd Annual CQ Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game and Taste of America reception slated for Thursday evening, the organizers of the game and the Washington Nationals are slated to make an announcement at 11 a.m. Thursday as to whether the game will be played or rescheduled.

“We can assure you that our preference is to play the game as scheduled tomorrow evening weather permitting,” the organizers said in a statement to ticket holders and media.

If the game is called on the account of weather, the Taste of America party and the announcement of the TOA winner will be postponed as well.

Here’s crossing our fingers.

OMG: Mikulski Responds to Tweets at Cybersecurity Hearing

In the Twitter age, apparently lawmakers don’t even need to wrap up their hearings before responding to news reports they don’t like, as BuzzFeed reporter Rosie Gray discovered Wednesday.

Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., spent much of a hearing Wednesday trying to steer the proceeding back to its original intended purpose — evaluating the U.S. cybersecurity budget — rather than what it was turning into, a grilling of Gen. Keith B. Alexander, the National Security Agency director and head of U.S. Cyber Command, about  government surveillance programs. Several times, she reminded panelists that the Intelligence Committee has a Thursday briefing planned to discuss surveillance.

More than an hour and a half into the hearing, though, Mikulski interrupted the proceeding for a different purpose: answering a tweet from Gray saying she was “interfering” with an interesting line of questioning. Full story

Weekend Work? Don’t Make Me Laugh | Overheard

“Usually we say that we’re going to do it on Friday and usually that threat seems to get it wrapped up on Thursday night. I have never missed a recess around here nor a weekend.”

— Senate Armed Services ranking member John McCain, regarding the defense authorization bill his panel is considering.

The Amazing World of Congress

Looks like Michigan Republican Rep. Bill Huizenga made some new friends while strolling around the National Cable & Telecommunications Association trade show:

The Amazing World of Congress

(Courtesy Bill Huizenga)

With five young ‘uns at home, we have no doubt he’s more familiar with oddball ‘toons than grown-up shows.

‘Senator’ Strips for Cash in Campaign Video (Updated)

Updated 3:45 p.m. | An effort to pass a campaign finance overhaul bill gets racy in its most recent move to get money out of politics.

In a YouTube video published this morning, the Represent.Us campaign to “end corruption” and “get America back” portrays a fictional senator stripping down to his Old Glory underpants and allowing a pack of lobbyists to jam dollar bills just about everywhere, right up to where the sun don’t shine.

That’s a flag we don’t need waved. As our pals at sister blog Political MoneyLine wrote, “Members of Congress will not like it. Most viewers will not like it. But that may be the point they are trying to make about soliciting campaign funds.”

Randy Hackett, the ad man behind the video, produced it pro bono, Represent.Us Director Josh Silver said. “He cares so much about the issue.”

For his part, Hackett said he wanted to make sure the video would get people’s attention.

“Did it turn you on?” he asked HOH. “It’s not supposed to,” he added — but only after we conceded that yes, it did, just a little. “It’s supposed to repulse people,” he said.

Peak Kwinarian, the actor who plays the salacious senator in the video, said he was taken aback by the pseudo-patriotic drawers the creators asked him to wear for his role.

“When I originally saw them, I did have a moment there,” he said. “[But] it’s not the actual flag. … I wasn’t desecrating the flag.”

Kwinarian said this was his first foray into exotic dancing, though he said he did once wear high heels and play a woman in a musical called “Zombies From the Beyond.”

“It was a campy piece,” he clarified.

The video is only the most recent move in the campaign to get a draft of legislation known as the American Anti-Corruption Act a vote in Congress. Former Federal Election Commission Chairman Trevor Potter drafted the act. Its website says the measure would transform how elections are financed, how lobbyists influence politics and how political money is disclosed.

All the Congressional Baseball Game News That’s Fit to Print

We’re one day away from the 52nd Annual CQ Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game, and with that comes a boatload of baseball news and data from our newsroom.

Topping off the news today is former Rep. Zach Wamp’s induction into the Congressional Baseball Hall of Fame. The Tennessee Republican was a force in the field and at the plate, and he gets a much-deserved honor to show for it.

And where do the GOP hopes lie in stopping the Democrats’ recent win streak? It might just be in keeping it simple, and small.

Also, don’t forget to check out the Democratic and GOP rosters. Find out who bats left but votes right, and vice versa!

NSA Is ‘Aware’ of Impending Trolling

Hours after his testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee this afternoon, National Security Administration Director Keith Alexander might have to answer to a much more formidable force: a legion of ticked-off netizens who will be sending deliberately loaded messages to test the NSA’s capabilities. But according to the NSA’s press flacks, the agency is “aware” of the situation.

Operation Troll the NSA invites users to send off buzzword-heavy messages at 7 p.m. EDT tonight in the hopes of jamming up the NSA’s behemoth domestic surveillance system known as PRISM. Full story

June 11, 2013

Ralph Hall, Accidental Tourist

To those who were wondering if Rep. Ralph M. Hall, R-Texas, was, in fact, lost while hanging at a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender soiree in Rayburn, the answer goes both ways.

“Last week, due to a scheduling error, I entered an ongoing reception, accompanied by staff, in the belief that we were attending a reception to honor a fellow congressman. One of the sponsors immediately greeted me, courteously welcomed us and offered refreshments,” Hall told HOH about the warm reception he received from Victory Fund folks June 5.

At some point, the worm turned.

“When I inquired about the congressman being honored, the sponsor did not know anything about that reception and presented his card. At that moment I realized that this was not the reception I intended to attend, and I put down my glass, thanked the sponsor, and told him we would be leaving,” Hall explained, adding, “Many of those in attendance probably were surprised to see me walk in, but were not surprised to see me leave quickly.”

Full story

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