outside-groups

Transparency advocates call on Capitol Police to improve public records policies
Group says it has tried to obtain documents that are considered public without success

A letter sent last week to USCP Chief Matthew R. Verderosa calls for the department to publish its guidelines and procedures on public documents. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A group is calling for increased transparency for the Capitol Police, a department of more than 2,000 employees with a budget topping $450 million.

A letter sent last week to USCP Police Chief Matthew R. Verderosa calls for the department to publish its guidelines and procedures on what it considers public documents that the public and news media have access to.

One year after Parkland, gun control advocates eye 2020
Advocates say midterm results proved gun control was a winning policy issue

Students rally on the West Front of the Capitol on March 14, 2018 as they participate in a national school walkout to call for action on preventing gun violence. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

One year after the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that galvanized young voters and jump-started a movement to combat gun violence, gun control advocates say there’s still more work to be done.

“We’re just gearing up,” said Sen. Christopher S. Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat and proponent of stricter gun laws. “There were a lot of candidates who got it in 2018. But there are more candidates that are going to learn the lesson from 2018.”

GOP super PAC ties 2 freshmen to Ocasio-Cortez in new digital ads
CLF knocks lawmakers over Green New Deal even though they aren’t co-sponsors

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., is featured in new digital ads from the Congressional Leadership Fund. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Republican super PAC is wasting no time tying vulnerable House Democrats to New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as it launches digital ads in two districts Monday. 

Congressional Leadership Fund, a group aligned with House GOP leadership, is targeting two freshman lawmakers, Antonio Delgado of New York and Colin Allred of Texas, in the new ads shared first with Roll Call. The ads are part of a five-figure digital buy.

Emerging border security deal will be first big test of Democratic unity
With some barrier funding expected, vote may show fractures among new House majority

Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., said he expects to oppose whatever border security funding agreement appropriators reach because he does not support any funding for a border barrier. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When it comes to legislating, House Democrats are still in the honeymoon stage of their new majority. They haven’t had to take any difficult votes yet. But the rocky period is coming, and it will likely start next week with a vote on a border security funding package. 

House and Senate appropriators serving on a Homeland Security funding conference committee signaled Thursday that they’re narrowing in on a border security deal that could be finalized and ready for floor votes next week ahead of a Feb. 15 government funding deadline. 

The change-makers: Roll Call’s people to watch in 2019
A surge of energy from activists has defined the Trump era. What’s the end game?

Varshini Prakash co-founded the Sunrise Movement, an environmental group, in 2017. (Cindy Ord/Getty Images file photo)

Several activists who will be on the front lines of some of the biggest policy battles in the year ahead rank among Roll Call’s People to Watch in 2019. 

They include the leader of a fledgling environmental group pushing for aggressive action on climate change; the new president of Planned Parenthood, the lightning rod in the raging debate over abortion; and an expert on transportation safety who will be insisting on strong regulations to prevent deaths and injuries from driver-less vehicles. 

The outsiders: Roll Call’s people to watch in 2019
“We need people like ourselves fighting for policies that work for us”

Sayu Bhojwani is the founder of New American Leaders, which trains first- and second-generation Americans to run for public office. (Marcia Myers/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Roll Call’s list of the People to Watch in 2019 continues with three players from outside the Beltway expected to play key roles on the political and policy fronts.

One is working to give immigrant communities greater representation in the public sphere. Another is a state attorney general squaring off with the Trump administration in the courts. And the third is a Canadian politician whose government has plenty of concerns about U.S. positions on trade, human rights and democratic principles. 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calls out dark money ‘shaping’ questions about reform bill
Ethics expert calls it a ‘fox guarding the henhouse situation’

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., attends a House Financial Services Committee organizational meeting in Rayburn Building on Jan. 30. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In a hearing about government ethics, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez turned the spotlight on her colleagues in the room.

Can members of Congress finance their campaigns with the aid of corporate PACs representing industries like fossil fuels and pharmaceuticals, and then legislate according to the interests of those industries?

Contentious nominee kicks off push to fill federal court seats
Senate Judiciary to hear from Neomi Rao, nominee for Kavanaugh’s old circuit seat

Neomi Rao, center, the administrator of White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, here at a Diwali ceremony in the White House on Nov. 13, 2018, has been nominated to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

Senate Republicans this week renew their push to confirm conservative federal judges, including a nominee for a key appeals court who could evoke the contentiousness of last year’s all-out battle over Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh.

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s first confirmation hearing of the year Tuesday features Neomi Rao, nominated to the seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit left open when Kavanaugh moved to the Supreme Court.

Democratic leaders called out for secrecy surrounding internal party rules
Progressive groups want Democrats to publish caucus rules on the internet

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries arrives for the weekly caucus press conference in the Capitol on Jan. 9. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democratic leaders are under pressure to publish their internal party rules — a deceptively dry set of policies that can determine how power is distributed among members, how the party responds to scandal, and what issues the party will prioritize on the chamber floor. 

Those guidelines “have a significant impact on the legislative process,” according to 11 progressive and civil rights groups, who wrote a letter to party leaders Thursday asking for the rules to be published on the internet. The letter points out that House Republicans have published their caucus rules for “several” Congresses. It comes as Democratic leaders tout a sweeping overhaul bill, HR-1, that they say would set the stage for a new era of transparency in Congress. 

Sheldon Whitehouse takes aim at funding disclosure for court briefs
Rhode Island Democrat writes to chief justice about planned legislation

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., has concerns the Supreme Court is not fairly enforcing a rule that prohibits someone from filing an amicus curiae when contributors to the effort are anonymous. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse told the Supreme Court that he intends to introduce legislation this year meant to shed light on the funding behind groups that frequently file briefs aimed at influencing the outcome of high-profile cases.

The Rhode Island Democrat often decries how high-dollar, dark money donations can be funneled through advocacy groups to anonymously press political agendas through the Supreme Court and lower appeals courts — what he dubs “judicial lobbying efforts.”