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Harvard Tradition Agitates Democrats’ Left Wing
Number of lobbyists, not identifying some as such, at orientation for incoming Democrats draws criticism

New York Democratic Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke out against the many corporate interests present at the Harvard Bipartisanship Orientation for New Members. (Mario Tama/Getty Images file photo)

A prestigious, 50-year-old orientation for new members of Congress at Harvard University predicated on the virtues of bipartisanship and civility has drawn intense criticism this week for the presence of lobbyists and business executives — evidence of the growing influence of the left wing of the Democratic Party that has abstained from corporate PAC money.

Most incoming members of Congress attend the storied Bipartisan Program for Newly Elected Members of Congress, which ran from Tuesday to Thursday. Since 1972, the Harvard Institute of Politics has hosted more than 700 current and former representatives, according to the school’s website.

Progressive Groups Crash Historic Harvard Bipartisanship Forum for New Members
Groups are holding an ‘alternative orientation’ outside to challenge ‘middle of the road’ policymaking

Rep.-elect Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., promised to push forward “unprecedented legislation” in a speech outside Harvard University on Tuesday night. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A prestigious orientation at Harvard University that has for 50 years coached incoming members of Congress on the values of civility and compromise has for the first time gotten some counter programming from the left. 

Most incoming freshman congressman attend the storied Bipartisan Program for Newly Elected Members of Congress hosted by the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School. Sessions began Tuesday and run through Thursday. Since 1972, Harvard has hosted more than 700 current and former representatives, according to the school’s website.

2018 Midterms: A Missed Opportunity for Republicans
They should have been touting good economic news. Instead they drowned it out

In the final days of the campaign, Republicans kept their focus on curbing immigration, popular with the base but also controversial and divisive. That was a mistake, Winston writes. Above, members of a migrant caravan clash with Mexican riot police at the border between Mexico and Guatemala on Oct. 19. (John Moore/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — We’ve assessed the 2018 campaign that began and ended with the fight for the election narrative. Our conclusion: This was not a base election. Independents decided the outcome, breaking for Democrats by 12 points.

It was a missed opportunity.

Democrats Go Into 2019 With Ethics Blazing
Pelosi, Sarbanes tease dark money overhaul as the party’s grand opening salvo

Campaign finance is high on Democrats’ agenda. Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi rolled out some details last week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A collection of House Democrats is working behind the scenes to tee up the party’s first order of business in the new Congress: a big overhaul of campaign finance, voting and ethics laws.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Maryland Rep. John Sarbanes offered a sneak peak Friday of what will likely be christened HR 1 in the 116th Congress. Instead of starting from scratch, the bill will draw from numerous existing proposals — including some that have languished for years during GOP control.

Party Leadership Duped Voters With Millions for ‘Dubious’ Midterm Ads, Report Finds
Congress, FEC could close loopholes so voters know who is paying for campaigns, group says

Members-elect from the 116th Congress pose for the freshman class photo on the East Front of the Capitol on Nov. 14. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Newly elected members of Congress benefited from millions of dollars indirectly tied to party leaders in Washington. But much of that money was spent on ads that appeared to be from local groups, according to a study released Thursday.

The tactic is legal, thanks to campaign finance laws that have not been updated since the dawn of the digital age and Supreme Court rulings that have struck down limits on money in politics. But such strategies, laid out in the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center’s “Dodging Disclosure” report, represent the acceleration of “big money trends” that have given deep-pocketed groups outsize influence over elections and made the 2018 midterms the most expensive in American history, the report said.

End of the Road for the Highway King Shusters
For the first time in 46 years, south-central Pennsylvania will not send a Shuster to Congress

Bud Shuster, right, wipes his eye as he congratulates his son, Bill, for winning the Republican nomination to fill his seat in 2001. (Gary M. Baranec/AP)

EVERETT, Pa. — Bud Shuster leaned away from a desk in his farmhouse as he considered the differences between his chairmanship of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and that of his son, Bill, who succeeded him in Congress and retires at the end of this session.

In his six years as chairman, the younger Shuster checked off all the major items in his committee’s jurisdiction, shepherding long-term authorization bills for roads, transit and aviation and three consecutive water resources development bills to enactment. In an era when Congress was known more for dysfunction and gridlock than delivering major legislation, that was no small feat, and it set a record unmatched since his father’s stint as chairman from 1995 to 2001.

Hyde-Smith Wins Mississippi Senate Runoff
GOP nominee lost corporate support over controversial “public hanging” remark

Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith has won a runoff to fill out the remainder of former Sen. Thad Cochran’s term. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Despite controversial comments and an embrace of Confederate history that cost her the support of corporate donors, Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith has won the runoff in Mississippi’s special Senate election.

With 76 percent of precincts reporting, Hyde-Smith led former Democratic Rep. Mike Espy 56 percent to 44 percent when The Associated Press called the race. The appointed senator becomes the first woman from Mississippi to be elected to Congress.

3 Things to Watch in the Mississippi Senate Runoff
Will the Democrats pull off another Alabama on Tuesday?

Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith has campaigned on her strong support for President Donald Trump. Above, the two rally in Tupelo on Monday. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

This time last year, Democrats were becoming increasingly optimistic about flipping a Senate seat in a deep-red state.

And by running against an alleged pedophile, they did — just barely. Doug Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore, who was accused of inappropriate sexual conduct with minors, by a point and a half in an Alabama special election runoff.

Trump Hails ‘Nasty Looking’ Border Wire in Stump for Hyde-Smith
President tries to keep Mississippi Senate seat in GOP hands

President Donald Trump, here at a rally in Kentucky in March 2017, was back on the midterms campaign trail Monday night in Mississippi. (George LeVines/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump fired up a Mississippi rally crowd Monday by referring to barbed-wire fences erected by military troops along the U.S.-Mexico border as “pretty nasty.”

He also ignored General Motors announcing it intends to stop production of several models of automobiles in Ohio, Michigan and Maryland, instead claiming “many” companies are “negotiating to come back in.” He also contended, despite the GM news, that jobs are “coming into Mississippi — and everywhere else, by the way.”

Grassley’s Move to Finance Committee Could Bolster Drug Price Efforts
Advocates anticipate bipartisan cooperation on lower prices

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, is expected to be the next chairman of the Finance Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Charles E. Grassley’s return to the helm of the Finance Committee could put him in a position to address high prescription prices, although former aides say his biggest initial contribution to the drug debate will be his zeal for accountability.

Mark Hayes, a former Finance chief health counsel under Grassley, said the Iowa Republican’s well-earned reputation for oversight can be a catalyst for action.