Chris Marquette

Campus notebook: Which impeachment lawyer makes more?
PCP arrest by the Capitol complex and Sen. David Perdue buys a lot of CBS, FedEx and Urban Outfitters stock

Two lawyers with prominent roles in the House impeachment inquiry — Stephen Castor, the Republican general counsel for the Oversight Committee, and Daniel Goldman, a senior adviser for the Intelligence Committee Democrats — testified alongside one another Monday. One difference between the two, besides the parties they represent on their respective panels, is their salaries.

According to payroll records from August, Castor makes an annual salary of $165,000—that’s $3,000 more than Goldman makes.

Try again: Lofgren rejects House clerk’s eyebrow-raising choice
2018 college graduate recommended to lead staff after Rep. Sean Duffy resignation

Rep. Sean Duffy left Congress months ago, but his office remains without a chief after a key lawmaker rejected an attempt to install a recent college graduate with no legislative experience and who is the daughter of a House official.

Duffy’s last chief of staff, Pete Meachum, departed the post on Dec. 6.

J. Brett Blanton on track to become next architect of the Capitol
Nominee was most recently deputy vice president for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority

Most of J. Brett Blanton’s nomination hearing before the Senate Rules Committee to be the next architect of the Capitol on Thursday was essentially a one-on-one public interview between him and Chairman Roy Blunt, as the remaining 18 members of the committee were absent for the majority of the hearing.

No opposition to Blanton, a Virginia resident, is evident, making him likely to be confirmed as the 12th architect of the Capitol. If confirmed, Blanton said he expects to start leading the agency by mid-January.

James Lankford to chair Senate Ethics Committee
Oklahoma Republican will take over for Johnny Isakson, who is resigning at the end of the year

Sen. James Lankford will take over as chairman of the Ethics Committee, succeeding Georgia Republican Johnny Isakson, who will retire at the end of the year, according to a senior Republican aide.

The Oklahoma Republican will lead a six-member, bipartisan committee charged with investigating violations of Senate rules. The committee’s most recent actions were in April 2018, when it published a public letter of admonition to Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J.

Campus Notebook: President nominates pick for Architect of the Capitol

President Donald Trump on Monday nominated J. Brett Blanton to be the next Architect of the Capitol for a 10-year stint.

If confirmed by the Senate, Blanton would provide stability to the helm of an agency that has been led by a succession of acting directors. Christine Merdon, an acting director, announced her resignation in August and was replaced by Thomas Carroll, who worked in the same capacity. The Architect of the Capitol is responsible for maintaining the facilities on the Capitol complex as well as renovations.

Duncan Hunter and the case of rabbit flights, NFL Red Zone, HBO and more
Office of Congressional Ethics details soon-to-be-former member’s use of campaign money

An Office of Congressional Ethics report released Monday shows in detail how Duncan Hunter’s campaign committee spent money on a range of personal expenses, including flights for a pet bunny rabbit, NFL Red Zone, Jack in the Box, Starbucks and family trips to Italy and Hawaii.

The OCE report was released by the House Ethics Committee, a panel that will lose its jurisdiction over Hunter when the California Republican resigns after the holidays. Hunter, who represents the 50th Congressional District of California, pleaded guilty last week to campaign finance fraud and subsequently announced his impending resignation.

Bill Huizenga: Our beer is better than your beer
Michigan Republican touts Grand Rapids brew over Asheville, N.C.

Rep. Bill Huizenga’s interview with the Office of Congressional Ethics regarding an investigation into whether he complied with campaign finance rules yielded some other interesting insights about his diet at Harry Potter World and whom he trash-talks with about beer.

During his July 10 interview, the Michigan Republican was asked by OCE what happens when a member of Congress is invited as a special guest to support a colleague’s fundraiser and who benefits from the funds donated.

Denny Heck really wants a cookie
Washington Democrat’s scheduler sounded the ‘sugar zone’ alarm

Rep. Denny Heck was in dire need of a cookie, so much so that his scheduler emailed a group of Democratic staffers to ask if anyone had a “cookie source.”

In late October, the Washington state Democrat’s scheduler, Lauren Meininger, sent the email to her Democratic colleagues with the subject line “A single cookie??”

Duncan Hunter to resign from Congress after holidays
California Republican’s decision comes days after pleading guilty to using campaign funds for personal purposes

California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter said Friday he will resign from Congress after the coming holidays, just days after pleading guilty to campaign finance fraud. 

“Shortly after the Holidays I will resign from Congress. It has been an honor to serve the people of California’s 50th District, and I greatly appreciate the trust they have put in me over these last 11 years,” he said in a statement. 

Duncan Hunter pleads guilty to conspiracy to misuse campaign funds
Hunter faced 60 counts, most of which will be dismissed

California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of conspiring with his wife, Margaret, to knowingly and willfully convert his campaign funds for personal expenditures.

He faces a maximum of five years in prison; a maximum $250,000 fine; and a maximum of three years supervised release. 

Duncan Hunter to plead guilty to one count in campaign finance case
California Republican said he will plead guilty to misuse of campaign funds

Duncan Hunter, a California Republican who was set to go to trial in January for campaign finance violations, said he will change his not-guilty plea Tuesday to guilty on one count of misuse of campaign funds.

The change of plea hearing, first reported by The San Diego Union-Tribune, is scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday before Judge Thomas Whelan in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

Campus Notebook: No Daily Show for you! Thursday Night Football OK, though
What trip to Florida is complete without a stop at Slim’s Fish Camp

Campus Notebook this week highlights Senate staffers who took trips to New York City in search of more knowledge about music and television production. Also, a Capitol Police drug arrest.

Kyle Hill, a legislative correspondent for Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott, traveled to New York City, from Oct. 3-4, on a $793 trip paid for by The Internet & Television Association.

Fired Capitol Police officer loses sex discrimination lawsuit
Jury finds gender was a factor, but not the only one, and rejects compensatory damages

Fired Capitol Police officer Chrisavgi Sourgoutsis’ gender was a motivating factor in her dismissal, but the force still would have terminated her, a federal jury found in rejecting her sexual discrimination lawsuit.

Tuesday’s verdict means Sourgoutsis failed to prove she would have remained on the force, but for her sex. The jury denied her bid for compensatory damages, and found she did not prove she was fired for testifying in a sexual harassment investigation into her supervisor.

Man who threatened to shoot Ilhan Omar pleads guilty
Patrick Carlineo Jr., of Addison, N.Y., faces 10 years in prison and $250,000 fine

A New York man who threatened in March to shoot Rep. Ilhan Omar in the head pleaded guilty in federal court for threatening to assault and murder a U.S. official and being a felon in possession of firearms.

Patrick Carlineo Jr., of Addison, New York, faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both. Carlineo entered his plea Monday in U.S. District Court in the Western District of New York in Rochester.

Campus Notebook: How much does a legislative director for Katie Hill make anyway?
More: stolen scooters, heroin, fellow Marco Rubio, trading Mark Warner

This week’s Campus Notebook features a little context on staffer pay in the office of former Rep. Katie Hill, arrests for scooter theft and a heroin bust, and payouts for two senators, for different reasons. 

Graham Kelly, who served as legislative director for former Democratic Rep. Katie Hill of California, earned an annual salary of $80,000, according to May 2019 payroll records from the Legislative Resource Center. The only staffer to make more than Kelly—there were other aides who made the same as him—was Emily Burns, Hill’s chief of staff, who made $130,000 a year.

Ethics Committee investigating Alcee Hastings relationship with staffer
Hastings is the third member or delegate since October that has been investigated for an alleged sexual relationship with a subordinate

The House Ethics Committee announced Thursday it is investigating Rep. Alcee L. Hastings and whether his relationship with a staffer, Patricia Williams, violates rules that forbid members from having sexual relationships with any subordinates in the House.

“I have cooperated with the Committee since May 14, 2019. As they continue to conduct their work, I stand ready to fully cooperate with their inquiry,” the Florida Democrat said in a statement.

Capitol Police sexual discrimination trial in the hands of jury
Department admits it ‘messed up’ procedure, but defends firing former officer

Summing up his client’s argument she was fired by the Capitol Police when a superior officer found out she talked to internal investigators about alleged sexual harassment, attorney R. Scott Oswald left the jury with a question Thursday.

Why would her assistant chief tell Chrisavgi Sourgoutsis to put disciplinary matters in the past, and that she could get back vacation time that had been frozen if she did, when the department was planning to fire her?

Capitol Police officials say former officer deserved to be fired despite procedural mistakes
Sourgoutsis alleges she was discriminated against because of her gender

Current and former Capitol Police officials testified Wednesday that former officer Chrisavgi Sourgoutsis deserved to be fired, even though the department made procedural mistakes while she was on the force.

Sourgoutsis alleged the Capitol Police discriminated against her based on her gender in a lawsuit filed in 2016. Her civil trial in federal court continues this week. 

Federal prosecutors want to remove Duncan Hunter’s lawyer
Hunter faces trial in January in California

Federal prosecutors are seeking to remove Duncan Hunter’s attorney, Paul Pfingst, from representing the embattled California Republican in his upcoming campaign finance case, alleging a conflict of interest.

Pfingst and his law firm, Higgs Fletcher & Mack, should be disqualified from representing Hunter because the firm also represents multiple witnesses who have testified adversely to Hunter’s interests and will likely be called as witnesses in his trial, U.S. attorney David D. Leshner, wrote in a court filing Monday.

High-ranking Capitol Police official admits he circumvented protocol to fire female officer
Third day of sexual discrimination trial reveals Sourgoutsis’ direct supervisors were not included in firing process

The male Capitol Police official who recommended the firing of a female officer testified Thursday that he arrived at that decision without ever meeting with her or consulting her direct supervisor.

It was the only termination endorsement Eric C. Waldow made while he was in the role of inspector, he said in D.C. district court on the third day of  the sexual discrimination case brought by the female officer, Chrisavgi Sourgoutsis.