Katherine Tully-McManus

Ethics Committee Finds Mark Meadows in Violation of House Rules

The House Ethics Committee found Rep. Mark Meadows failed to take “prompt and decisive action” to handle alleged sexual harassment in his congressional office, according to a Friday report.

The committee also found Meadows violated House rules by failing to take action to ensure his office was not engaging in discrimination.

Ruben Kihuen Harassed Women, Ethics Committee Finds
Nevada Democrat had refused to resign after allegations surfaced in December

Rep. Ruben Kihuen harassed women who worked with him and violated the House’s official code of conduct, according to a House Ethics Committee report released Thursday. 

“Kihuen made persistent and unwanted advances towards women who were required to interact with him as part of their professional responsibilities,” the report says. The advances included kissing, grabbing and comments about underwear.

After 181 Years of No Hats in Congress, Dems Eye Exception for Religious Garb
Ilhan Omar will become the first federal legislator to wear a religious headscarf

Hats have been banned from the House chamber of the Capitol for nearly two centuries — 181 years, to be exact. Under a new proposal from Democrats, the rule would be relaxed to allow religious headwear, like a hijab or kippah. 

The change was proposed jointly by Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, Incoming Rules Chairman Jim McGovern and member-elect Ilhan Omar as part of a larger overhaul package.

House Republicans Adopt New Rules to Govern Themselves (and the Indicted)
Rule changes are timely, given GOP has two indicted members on its hands

House Republicans in leadership positions in the next Congress will have to abdicate their positions if they announce a run for higher office. The GOP conference adopted their internal rules for the 116th Congress Thursday, including the proposal on leadership from New York Rep. Elise Stefanik.

The provision from Stefanik would preclude the situation that Rep. Luke Messer was in last year, when he served as the chairman of the Republican Policy Committee while also running for the Senate.

Federal Court Orders Capitol Police to Negotiate With Officer’s Union
Legal battle has roots in stalled talks over new contract, terminations

A federal court has ordered the Capitol Police back to the bargaining table with the officers’ union.

In a decision last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit granted a petition to make the department and the union negotiate a new contract, while dismissing the Capitol Police’s appeal over whether the union could challenge employees’ terminations through arbitration.

Orientation Disorientation: The Maybe Members Have a Strange Status
Democrat Nate McMurray says he was barred, but organizers say he is welcome

Indicted Republican Rep. Chris Collins’ Democratic challenger Nate McMurray says House Republicans barred him from attending new member orientation Wednesday, but organizers say he is welcome to attend. Such is the plight of the so-called maybe members. 

Traditionally, candidates in races that are too close to call days after Election Day are invited to attend the freshman orientation. Earlier this week, Democratic staff for the House Administration Committee said that was the case again this year.

House Republicans Propose Punishments for Indicted Members
Chris Collins, Duncan Hunter cases pushed issue to the fore

Selfies on the Floor: Members-Elect Break the Rules While They Still Can

Freshman orientation has been full of selfies as the newly elected members of the 116th Congress get to know their classmates and surroundings on Capitol Hill. But many have been breaking a well-known House rule against photos in the House chamber.

At least eight incoming House members posted selfies in the House chamber to their social media accounts on Tuesday. Maybe the newcomers haven’t been briefed on the rules of decorum in the House, or maybe they got a pass during the exciting orientation tours.  

What Really Happens During Congress’ Freshman Orientation
Political Theater, Episode 45

 

What’s my Representational Allowance? Why can’t I take pictures on the House floor? Where are the bathrooms? Newly elected lawmakers are participating in freshman orientation this week, and while it has a first day of school vibe, they should pay attention. It could save them some embarrassment, and maybe even avoid getting into hot water with the Ethics Committee or even federal authorities. Roll Call Staff Writer Katherine Tully-McManus runs down what the members-to-be are doing during freshman orientation, and why it matters.

Ocasio-Cortez Joins Protesters at Pelosi’s Office
Environment groups want commitment from Democratic to take urgent action on climate change

Protesters, joined by Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, took over Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office Tuesday and staged a sit-in calling for her to commit to urgent action on climate change.

The group of more than 100 people was organized by the environmental group Sunrise and Justice Democrats.

New Members of Congress Hit the Books in DC
It’s just like college, but with more catering

Freshly elected faces will descend on Washington on Tuesday for the start of their congressional orientation, including a new session on workplace rights on Capitol Hill. If past years are any indication, they’ll be eating tens of thousands of dollars of food.

Lunches, tours and briefings will pack the agenda, and winners from around the country will mix and mingle like freshmen on a college campus. It will be their first taste of life as a member of Congress, from interacting with media to forging relationships with their future colleagues.

Former Arizona Rep. Ron Barber Returns to District Director Roots
Democrat accepted position with Rep.-elect Ann Kirkpatrick

Former Rep. Ron Barber will return to service as district director for the seat he once represented in Congress, starting in January, according to an announcement from 2nd District Rep.-elect Ann Kirkpatrick

“I asked Ron if he would serve as District Director because no one knows Southern Arizona better than him,” the incoming congresswoman said in a statement. “There’s no one who loves Tucson and Cochise County more than Ron. He is one of my top advisors, and I’m thrilled that he and Nancy are willing to step back into the arena to serve the people of Southern Arizona.”

Congressional Ethics Office Refers Four Cases to House Committee
With members leaving or feds investigating, most cases likely to not proceed

The Office of Congressional Ethics sent four referrals to the House Ethics committee for further review in the third quarter of 2018, according to a report released Thursday.

Although the report did not name names associated with the referrals, the Ethics Committee has announced actions on OCE referrals concerning current members between July and September.

Here’s How a House Democratic Majority Might Protect Mueller If Trump Fires Him
With power to investigate and subpoena, Democrats have options to protect special counsel

House Democrats, with their new majority, will have an expansive new toolkit once they take control of the chamber on Jan. 3 to protect special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation — even if acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker decides to shut it down.

If President Donald Trump, through Whitaker or his full-time replacement, does indeed order Mueller to shutter his investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election, that would trigger a quick response from Democrats. In two months, they will wield the all-important power of subpoenaing officials.

Ex-Rep. Steve Stockman Sentenced to 120 Months in Prison
Texas Republican was found guilty of 23 fraud charges

Former Texas Republican Rep. Steve Stockman was sentenced Wednesday to 120 months in prison after a federal jury convicted him of 23 counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and making false statements to the Federal Election Commission.

The Texas Republican was first elected in the 1994 GOP revolution, only to be unseated two years later. He returned to the House in 2013, but left after a term following an unsuccessful bid to knock off Sen. John Cornyn in the following year’s Republican primary.

Tim Kaine’s Policy Agenda For a Divided Congress
Former governor, veep candidate sees opportunities for cooperation

One day after the election, Virginia’s newly re-election Sen. Tim Kaine was ready to talk policy and where he thinks that Republicans and Democrats could rally to move forward in a divided Congress.

He said that for the first time in a while, there could be common ground on health care, and he singled our for praise the bipartisan opioids bill that was signed into law last month.

Indictment Caucus: Duncan Hunter and Chris Collins Win Re-Election
Republicans facing federal charges win over their voters

Two House Republicans under federal indictments are heading back to Congress. Voters in California and New York are sending Reps. Duncan Hunter and Chris Collins back to Capitol Hill even as they face federal charges.

Hunter and his wife, Margaret, were indicted by a federal grand jury in late August for allegedly using $250,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses and covering their tracks in campaign finance filings to the Federal Election Commission. The couple is facing 60 federal charges.

Women Elected at Historic Levels, But No Surprise Here: White Men Dominate 116th Congress
Number of veterans down

The 116th Congress is on track to be one of the most diverse in history, but the legislature will still be overwhelmingly white and male compared to the overall U.S. population. Historic numbers of women won seats in the midterm contests, but the number of veterans is likely to fall or stay flat. 

At least 96 women running for the House have won their races, shattering the previous record of 84 women in the House. Eighty-three of the women who won were Democrats.

‘I Haven’t Seen Any Russians,’ Arizona Candidate Says in Sputnik Interview
GOP candidate Wendy Rogers under fire for interview with Russian outlet seen as Putin propaganda tool

The midterm election news blitz will come to a close soon, but one Arizona Republican candidate’s interview with a Russian government-owned news agency is drawing criticism on Election Day. 

Wendy Rogers did an interview earlier this month with Sputnik News, which NATO officials have accused of being part of a “Kremlin propaganda machine” distributing biased articles and “misinformation” to influence political opinion around the world.

Arizona’s Next Senator Won’t Be Wealthy, Whomever Voters Choose
Both Sinema and McSally rank among the bottom of Roll Call’s Wealth of Congress

Arizona’s first woman Senator won’t have much in the bank, regardless of whom voters choose Tuesday. Republican Martha McSally and Democrat Kyrsten Sinema both rank toward the bottom of Roll Call’s Wealth of Congress index, both lacking the big bucks common among many of their Capitol Hill colleagues.

Both Arizonans had already served the public in some way before running for public office. McSally served decades in the Air Force and Sinema was a social worker and lawyer for a public school district. Neither got rich.