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Tips and calls to the Office of Congressional Ethics spiked last session
More than 13,300 private citizens reached out to group charged with reviewing misconduct allegations

Incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi receives the gavel from outgoing House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy in January. The pair announced Office of Congressional Ethics appointees for the 116th Congress on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Citizen outreach to the Office of Congressional Ethics more than doubled in the 115th Congress, but the agency’s pre-election blackout period means they didn’t take action on any cases in the last quarter of 2018.

More than 13,300 private citizens contacted the Office of Congressional Ethics during the 115th Congress, up from 6,285 in the 114th Congress, according to the OCE’s most recent quarterly report. The contacts fall into two categories: allegations of misconduct and requests for information about the OCE.

Navy routinely buys defective ships
Former shipbuilding executive: “There’s an old adage: ‘A ship so nice, we built it twice’”

The newest Littoral Combat Ship, the USS St. Louis, is launched in Wisconsin in December. The LCS class has been bogged down by defects. (Courtesy U.S. Navy)

For the U.S. Navy, buying warships that are defective, unfinished or both has become the norm.

The habit is expensive, dangerous and leaves overworked sailors to deal with faulty ships in need of repair from day one — yet it has escaped sufficient scrutiny in Washington.

Small-dollar donors could hold the balance in 2020
Concerns about money in politics are empowering individual voters

Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who entered the 2020 presidential race Thursday, collected almost half of his $79 million Senate haul last cycle from small donations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Poll after poll shows that a wide majority of Americans denounce the role of money in the nation’s political campaigns — so their behavior in response might come as a surprise: More Americans are donating to candidates, particularly in small-dollar increments.

Molly McCloskey, a 27-year-old who works in advertising in Chicago, said she ponied up several donations, none larger than $40 and most closer to $15, in last year’s campaigns to support Democratic candidates. “There were times where I felt helpless, so I donated,” McCloskey said. “It felt like some sort of action, like I was doing something.”

Vacant office of North Carolina’s 9th District falls under Clerk’s control
District has been without representation after last fall’s result was thrown out

A sign outside the office of North Carolina’s 9th District on Thursday. (Katherine Tully-McManus/CQ Roll Call)

The House clerk is officially taking over the vacant office of North Carolina’s 9th District.

A “vacant office notice” from House Clerk Cheryl L. Johnson released Thursday says her office will provide constituent services and operate the congressional office until an upcoming special election decides a new member.

Medicare for All and Green New Deal spur Red Scare tactics
Warnings of socialism on the rise again in Congress

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., embodies and supports many of the positions causing Republicans to decry socialism. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Nearly every day the 116th Congress is in session, on average, a Republican member takes to the House or Senate floor and says Democrats are veering toward socialism, warning that their progressive colleagues would lead America down some disastrous path akin to Nicolás Maduro’s Venezuela.

The Democrats’ “Green New Deal” approach to climate change, the “Medicare-for-All” retort to Republicans undercutting Obama’s 2010 health care law, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and the most visible new member of the House, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, have all been painted as examples of a naive and dangerous socialist onslaught that must be repelled.

Jim Jordan seeks to block increased funds for Oversight panel he helps lead
Chairman Elijah Cummings wants to rebuild staffing, but his GOP counterpart does not

Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah E. Cummings, right, and ranking member Jim Jordan are the only House committee leaders to disagree about funding levels for their panel. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As House Democrats ramp up their oversight investigations into President Donald Trump’s administration, businesses, and 2016 campaign, at least one Republican has found a new battleground to push back: funding for the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

That panel’s chairman, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, asked the House Administration Committee on Tuesday for a funding increase of 4 percent this year and 10 percent next year over funding levels from the previous, GOP-controlled 115th Congress.

Spectrum auction could boot weather forecasting back to the 1970s, lawmakers warn
Appropriators call for delay of auction set for Thursday

The Federal Communications Commission, led by Ajit Pai, plans to go ahead with a spectrum auction aimed at securing American leadership in 5G. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senior House members, citing a potential threat to the safety of millions of people, urgently asked a federal agency Wednesday to delay an auction of radio frequency spectrum that is slated to occur Thursday.

If that spectrum is used for 5G wireless communications, as planned, it could interfere with government satellites’ ability to collect data in a nearby band — information on which accurate weather forecasts hinge, three House Appropriations subcommittee chairmen said in a letter obtained by Roll Call.

Capitol Hill is buzzing: Architect of the Capitol rehomes bee colony
Massive bee hive and 10 pounds of honey removed from historic ash tree

An Architect of the Capitol ground crew removed a massive beehive from an ash tree on the Capitol campus Wednesday. (Photo: Architect of the Capitol)

Capitol Hill was buzzing Wednesday morning and it had nothing to do with Congress or news. An Architect of the Capitol ground crew removed a massive bee hive from an ash tree on the Capitol campus.

Images from the AOC show a large limb of the ash tree being removed, with the hive tucked inside. The team that removed the bee colony from the historic tree was made up of AOC arborists and a beekeeper, according to spokesperson Erin Courtney.

These lawmakers want to know when the Senate gets hacked
The bipartisan duo of Sens. Wyden and Cotton called for more disclosure of Senate cyber attacks

Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Tom Cotton, R-Ark., called on Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger to reveal cyber attacks against the Senate. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A bipartisan Senate duo wants to know about any successful hacks of Senate devices and networks.

Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, and Arkansas Republican Tom Cotton wrote to Senate Sargent of Arms Michael Stenger calling for an annual report on when Senate computers and smartphones have been compromised, and when hackers have otherwise gained access to sensitive Senate data.

New York man faces trial for threat against Rep. Maxine Waters
Date of threatening call to her district office coincides with heightened criticism of Waters among the far-right

A central New York man is accused of calling the district office of California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters and making racist and threatening remarks last summer. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A man is expected to go to trial this week for calling the district office of Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and making racist and violent threats, according to local reports and court documents. 

In July 2018, Stephen Taubert, who lives in central New York, allegedly threatened to kill Waters using offensive language and racial slurs, including the n-word, Syracuse.com reported.