outside groups

Trump Wants New Chief of Staff Who ‘Believes in What We’re Doing’
Sarah Sanders suggests John Kelly should have hashed out gripes ‘behind closed doors’

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly waits to speak as press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders introduces him during a White House briefing in October 2017. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump’s top spokeswoman suggested her boss grew frustrated with outgoing Chief of Staff John Kelly disagreeing with his policies — and sometimes taking disputes public.

“I think he brought a lot of structure to the White House that was needed at the time he came in,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said of his second chief of staff. “That being said, I think the president is looking for somebody who believes in what we’re doing.”

The Future of Ads Is Digital — But Not Quite the Present
Some say campaigns are still slow to shift to digital-focused strategies

An iPhone captures then-presidential candidate Donald Trump after the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary debate in early 2016. (Meredith Dake-O’Connor/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There were plenty of signs that Democrats found success online this election cycle: catchy videos went viral; a burgeoning army of small-dollar donors produced eye-popping fundraising numbers; and voters targeted online showed up at the polls. 

But for some in the party, their digital efforts left much to be desired. Television ads still dominated campaigns, and Republican outside groups outpaced Democrats in digital ad spending. 

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.

Dan Conston Takes Helm of Top House GOP Outside Groups
Conston will lead the Congressional Leadership Fund and American Action Network

Interns work the phones at the Congressional Leadership Fund office in GOP Rep. Steve Knight’s district in Lancaster, Calif. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The two major GOP outside groups involved in House races are getting a new leader. Dan Conston will take over as the president of both American Action Network and its related Super PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund, the groups announced Tuesday. 

The move comes after Republicans lost 40 seats in the midterm elections, meaning Republicans will shift from defense to offense in the upcoming 2020 elections. Conston will replace Corry Bliss, who oversaw record fundraising for the group and the creation of a new Congressional Leadership Fund field program with offices in 40 districts. Bliss will remain an advisor to both groups.

Elise Stefanik Wants to Play in Primaries to Help Republican Women
NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer thinks playing in primaries is a “mistake”

New York Rep. Elise Stefanik is stepping back from her role at the NRCC. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

New York Rep. Elise Stefanik recruited more than 100 women as the first female head of recruitment at the National Republican Congressional Committee. But only one of them prevailed, with many failing to make it through their primaries.

So Stefanik is stepping back from the NRCC to be involved where she thinks it matters.

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.

Odds Stacked Against House Members Considering 2020 White House Bids
As many as 6 House Democrats could launch campaigns to challenge Trump

Reps. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, second from left, and Eric Swalwell of California, to his left, could find themselves running against each other for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. Also pictured, Rep. Grace Meng and former Rep. Steve Israel, both of New York. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As high-profile Democratic senators and governors steel themselves for a race to challenge President Donald Trump in 2020, at least six sitting House Democrats are rumored to be weighing runs.

They include Reps. Adam B. Schiff and Eric Swalwell of California, Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, Tim Ryan of Ohio and Beto O’Rourke of Texas.

New Democrat Coalition Elects Derek Kilmer as New Chairman
Sewell, Peters, Kuster and DelBene will be vice chairs of pro-business caucus

Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., is the new chair of the New Democrat Coalition. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The New Democrat Coalition on Friday elected Washington Rep. Derek Kilmer to chair the centrist, pro-business caucus in the 116th Congress. 

Kilmer, who has served as a vice chair of the coalition, will succeed Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes

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.

Democratic Strategists Launch Draft Beto PAC
But Texas progressives want him to run for statewide office again instead of president

Progressive fever around Rep. Beto O'Rourke shows no sign of waning. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic strategists have launched a “Draft Beto 2020” political action committee just days after the Texas congressman first signaled he would be open to a presidential run — the latest sign that the hype around the up-and-comer has not waned since his Election Day defeat.

During his unsuccessful Senate race, O’Rourke vowed that “win or lose” he would not consider a White House bid, but the Texas congressman shifted his position at a town hall in El Paso on Monday.