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House Judiciary Democrats eye campaign finance measures
FEC member points out need for more commissioners

Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., continues to champion his Democracy for All Amendment to the Constitution that would essentially undo the 2010 Citizens United v FEC decision. “The deeply rooted problem of money in politics requires a constitutional amendment,” Deutch said Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Federal Election Commissioner Ellen Weintraub, in testimony to a House Judiciary subcommittee, tried to draw attention to her agency’s current predicament: It’s lacked enough commissioners for a quorum for more than five months.

“While I know this is not within the House’s purview, the FEC could really use some new commissioners to restore our quorum and let us do our job,” she said during a hearing of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties. “So tell your friends.”

At the Races: Is Iowa over yet?

By Bridget Bowman, Simone Pathé and Stephanie Akin 

Welcome to At the Races! Each week we’ll bring you news and analysis from the CQ Roll Call team that will keep you informed about the 2020 election. Know someone who’d like to get this newsletter? They can subscribe here.

Lobbyists donate to presidential contenders, who then reject it
Democrats have policies against lobbyist cash

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., shown speaking at the Iowa State Fair in August 2019, does not accept lobbyist campaign donations. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic presidential contenders — including Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren — have official policies of rejecting campaign donations from registered federal lobbyists, but lobbyists still donated to all of them in recent months, new disclosures show. 

Some of the K Street cash has already been refunded to the contributors, lobbyists told CQ Roll Call. Other donations may be on their way back, as some of the campaigns said they would return any newly identified contributions from registered federal lobbyists. 

At the Races: Iowa still matters after Monday

By Stephanie Akin, Bridget Bowman and Simone Pathé 

Welcome to At the Races! Each week we’ll bring you news and analysis from the CQ Roll Call team that will keep you informed about the 2020 election. Know someone who’d like to get this newsletter? They can subscribe here.

House Republicans sound fundraising alarm. What now?
Two kinds of candidates: ‘Those who raise money and losers’

Republican Rep. Jim Hagedorn, shown at his 2018 campaign office in Mankato, Minn., says he raised $1 million last year for his 2020 reelection. Republican leaders are urging members to step up fundraising to keep pace with Democrats. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Jim Hagedorn, a freshman Republican from Minnesota who says he raised $1 million last year, isn’t worried about fundraising.

“That’s pretty good for a rural district,” he said Tuesday outside the House chamber.

Rhonda Foxx on her ‘superwoman cape’
She was one of the youngest women of color to land a top job on the Hill — and now she’s trying for a repeat

Rhonda Foxx, former chief of staff for Rep. Alma Adams, is running for Congress in North Carolina’s 6th District. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If you know where to look, you can spot Rhonda Foxx’s “superwoman cape.” Hint: It’s not draped behind her.

It’s worn on her wrist — a large metallic bracelet that she twists whenever she’s feeling self-doubt. “If you ever see me speak, you’re going to see me touch a cuff,” she told me on a recent Sunday night.

Impeachment trial takes vulnerable senators off the campaign trail, too
Some senators are refraining from sending fundraising emails

Alabama Sen. Doug Jones walks to the Senate chamber Wednesday before the start of the impeachment trial. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Doug Jones’ campaign is holding an event Friday, but the Alabama Democrat won’t be there. Instead, Valerie Jarrett, an adviser to former President Barack Obama, is hosting the forum on women in leadership in Birmingham.

Jones, the most vulnerable senator in 2020, will be in the Senate chamber for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, alternating between blue and red felt-tipped pens as he takes notes on opening arguments. Sitting with him will be other colleagues who face competitive races, either in November or sooner in party primaries.

Big business, tech, health care lead K Street spending in 2019
Spending was highest in fourth quarter as Congress passed budget bills and updated NAFTA

Lobbyists say they’re looking at a post-impeachment crunch on major legislative priorities this year before the elections consume lawmakers’ attentions. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Big business, big tech and medical interests were K Street’s top players last year as those industries spent millions of dollars on federal lobbying in the final months of 2019, while lawmakers and the administration wrapped up spending and trade measures.

With the 2020 elections expected to consume lawmakers’ attention this summer and fall, lobbyists say they’re looking at a post-impeachment crunch on major 2020 priorities. Some clients already are gaming out a possible lame-duck session as well as a potentially revamped federal government in 2021.

How Ed Henry covered impeachment the first time
Roll Call alum is starting a new role at Fox News just as impeachment articles hit the Senate. That brought back some memories

Heard on the Hill alum Ed Henry gets ready for a new role at Fox News. (Courtesy Fox News)

Ed Henry had an interview scheduled with Bill Clinton. It was a relatively sleepy week in Washington, the State of the Union was approaching, and the young reporter planned to ask the president about his relationship with Congress.

Things changed. News of the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke, and what was supposed to be a routine sit-down turned into a 15-minute phone call brimming with executive denials: “not sexual,” “not improper,” “not true.”

Liz Cheney is not running for Senate in Wyoming
Cheney is the only woman in House GOP leadership

Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., announced Thursday that she is not running for Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Liz Cheney, the only woman in House Republican leadership, announced Thursday that she is not running for an open Senate seat in Wyoming.

“I believe I can have the biggest impact for the people of Wyoming by remaining in leadership in the House of Representatives and working [to] take our Republican majority,” Cheney told the Casper Star-Tribune.