Chris Marquette

Sen. Ted Cruz gifted Houston Rockets tickets worth $12K
Texas Republican was criticized for cursing the team in last year’s Game 7 loss to the Warriors

Sen. Ted Cruz stood courtside, gleefully grinning during pregame on the night the Houston Rockets were bounced from the 2018 NBA playoffs in a devastating Game 7 Western Conference finals home loss to the Golden State Warriors, a marquee matchup the Texas Republican was able to watch for free thanks to a powerful Republican donor.

Cruz attended the May 28, 2018, game with a ticket gifted to him by Robert Marling, the CEO of Woodforest National Bank and a financial supporter who contributed to his Senate and presidential campaigns.

Rep. Duncan Hunter’s trial pushed to 2020
California Republican accused of misusing more than $250,000 in campaign funds will go to court just weeks before primary

Rep. Duncan Hunter’s trial on charges that he improperly spent hundreds of thousands in campaign funds on lavish vacations, golf outings and copious amounts of alcohol has been moved to Jan. 14.

The California Republican’s trial was originally scheduled to start Sept. 10.

Duncan Hunter’s trial appears on track to be postponed
California Republican faces avalanche of charges relating to alleged misuse of campaign cash

Lawyers involved in Rep. Duncan Hunter’s trial on charges that he inappropriately spent $250,000 in campaign funds for massive bar tabs and elaborate vacations to Hawaii and Italy are asking a California judge to have the proceedings delayed until Oct. 29.

A joint status report filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California seeks to move the trial, currently scheduled to begin Sept.10, to October. But the date proposed by lawyers for both the California Republican and the government could change based on court schedules and the status of appeals. More will be known after a district court hearing scheduled for Tuesday.

Seven Republicans call for Ethics Committee investigation into Castro
Texas Democrat posted names and employers of Trump donors on Twitter

Seven Republican members of the House Freedom Caucus are calling on the House Ethics Committee to investigate Texas Democrat Joaquin Castro for publicly posting on Twitter the names and workplaces of constituents who donated to President Donald Trump.

“Posting a target list of private citizens simply for supporting his political opponent is antithetical to our principles and serves to suppress the free speech and free association rights of Americans,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter sent to the Ethics panel Friday.

Ohio author of Facebook post saying AOC ‘should be shot’ arrested on gun charges
Toledo man allegedly told Capitol Police he was very proud of the post

An Ohio man who allegedly told Capitol Police he was proud of a Facebook post suggesting New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez “should be shot” was arrested at his Toledo residence Thursday. 

Timothy James Ireland Jr., 41, was charged in U.S. District Court in Toledo with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, one count of being a fugitive in possession of a firearm and one count of making interstate threats.

Rep. Chris Collins, son get some securities fraud charges dropped
New York Republican still faces decades of potential jail time

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York is dropping three securities fraud charges against Rep. Chris Collins and two against his son, Cameron, in order to avoid unnecessary pretrial litigation that could delay the case, according to a court filing submitted Tuesday.

The government’s decision still leaves both father and son facing a tsunami of remaining charges stemming from the New York Republican congressman’s alleged role in an insider trading scheme involving an Australian biotechnology company, Innate Immunotherapeutics. Chris Collins served on the company’s board of directors and allegedly gave material, nonpublic information to his son about confidential drug test results so that his son, and others, could trade on the news before the results were announced to the public. They were able to avoid approximately $768,000 in losses, according to the Justice Department.

El Paso, Dayton shootings prompt protest outside White House
Groups condemn Trump's remarks on immigrants, lack of action on gun legislation in Senate

Protesters chanted “white supremacy has got to go” and “immigrants are welcome here” across from the White House on Tuesday at a rally sparked by mass shootings over the weekend that killed 31 people and injured many more.

Organized by a coalition of civil rights and gun reform groups, the rally demanded that President Donald Trump stop denigrating immigrants and that the Senate pass gun control legislation, including a bill that passed the House months ago requiring a background check for every gun sale.

Mail bomber who targeted Biden, Harris, Booker and other notable Democrats gets 20 years in prison
Cesar Sayoc Jr. sent 16 explosive devices to those he saw as enemies of Trump

A Florida man who tried to harm influential Democrats — including members of Congress — by sending them homemade pipe bombs was sentenced Monday to 20 years in prison by a federal district court judge in Manhattan.

Cesar Sayoc Jr., a supporter of President Donald Trump, pleaded guilty in March to mailing 16 explosive devices to those he saw as enemies of Trump. The targets included four current 2020 presidential hopefuls — former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California, and billionaire Tom Steyer — as well as former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Rep. Maxine Waters of California.

No property was stolen from Elijah Cummings’ Baltimore residence, debunking Trump’s claim
Maryland Democrat confronted and yelled at intruder, causing him to flee on bicycle

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings confronted and yelled at an intruder attempting to break into his Baltimore residence last week, causing the man to flee on a bicycle, an incident that President Donald Trump incorrectly tweeted about in a disparaging manner.

A report from the Baltimore Police Department debunked Trump’s claim that the Maryland Democrat’s house had been robbed. The report noted that no property was stolen. 

Rep. Elijah Cummings scared off intruder at Baltimore residence
Maryland congressman and city were criticized by President Trump several times over the past week

The Baltimore Police Department is investigating an early-morning burglary at the home of Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, according to CBS Baltimore.

A person tried to break into the Congressman’s Baltimore residence last Saturday, but Cummings scared the intruder off.

Chief administrative officer warns employees: Shape up or risk being outsourced
Congress is not looking to outsource CAO services — yet, Philip Kiko says

The House chief administrative officer struck an ominous tone in a staff meeting Wednesday, warning employees that Congress could eventually look to outsource many of their services to private sector vendors if they don’t step up and meet member demands.

In an all-hands meeting broadcast on YouTube, Philip Kiko focused on a set of recommendations approved by the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress last week and his appearance before that same committee on July 11, both of which yielded criticism of his office’s performance.

Amtrak IG details Union Station security deficiencies
Report outlines car driving onto tracks, doors propped open, security guards not checking permits

Security shortcomings at Amtrak’s second busiest station, Washington Union Station, have allowed an unauthorized car to drive onto the tracks and continue to leave the transportation hub and its patrons at risk, according to a report by Amtrak’s inspector general.

The report found that an entrance to Union Station is vulnerable to trespassers; interior doors are not secure; video surveillance cameras are not operational; and the company’s incident reporting process and radio limitations hamper the Amtrak police force’s response to security incidents at the station that served more than 5 million riders in the 2018 fiscal year.

Ethics working group examines restrictions on members in outside roles
Group hears proposals, including ban from serving as private company directors

A working group of the House Ethics Committee convened Thursday to consider how to construct rules governing the roles members of Congress can hold in outside entities, such as limited liability companies and nonprofits.

Van Taylor, a Texas Republican, and Susan Wild, a Pennsylvania Democrat, led the Outside Positions Working Group as it examined potential restrictions on lawmakers, officers and staff in the House.

Office of Congressional Ethics has undertaken 9 investigations since April
House watchdog releases second quarter report

The Office of Congressional Ethics has undertaken nine investigations into potential misconduct of lawmakers and employees in the House, two of which have been terminated.

The independent, non-partisan investigative entity has moved seven matters to a second-phase review. That means they have cleared a preliminary review stage, which is authorized by two Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) board members — one appointed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and one by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, both of whom represent California — if the information provides a reasonable basis to believe a violation may have occurred. This preliminary review has to be completed in 30 days.

Fifth GPO inspector general in last year concerned with leadership instability
Michael P. Leary asks Senate committee for more funds, attention to publishing agency

Climate change protesters glue themselves together in tunnel to Capitol
17 arrested as votes go ahead as scheduled with House members finding other routes to chamber

Demonstrators seeking to get Congress to declare a climate emergency superglued their hands to each other and blocked entrances to the Capitol from House office buildings Tuesday to disrupt scheduled votes.

The protesters from the group Extinction Rebellion formed human blockades in the tunnels to the Capitol from Rayburn and Cannon House buildings, which along with the connected Longworth building are where members have their offices.

Kyrsten Sinema invokes memory of John McCain in maiden speech
Arizona Senator uses address to advocate for her legislation to combat veteran suicide

In her maiden speech on the Senate floor, Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema invoked the courage of the late Sen. John McCain and recounted the tragic story of a veteran’s suicide that might have been prevented with better access to appropriate mental health care.

Sinema, a Democrat, said she is committed to making sure veterans don’t feel trapped, as Sgt. Daniel Somers did when he committed suicide in 2013, and shining a light on the 20 veterans who die everyday as a result of suicide.

Ethics working group to hash out what kind of company service is off limits
Chris Collins insider trading case prompted need to clarify regulations

A House Ethics Committee working group on Thursday will discuss proposed regulations to govern what kind of roles lawmakers may perform in companies, part of a push to head off the kind of ethical issues that led to the federal indictment of Rep. Chris Collins, who is accused of trading insider information while simultaneously serving as a company board member and public official.

That working group — comprised of Rep. Van Taylor, R-Texas and Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa.— will consider what types of service or positions with outside entities could lead to actual or perceived conflicts of interest. The Outside Positions Working Group will meet publicly July 25 in 1310 Longworth House Office Building at 3:30 p.m.

Omar’s office facade gets covered with notes of support
Notes offer messages of support after a Trump rally crowd chanted ‘send her back!’

Rep. Ilhan Omar’s congressional office facade grew more colorful as people walked by her office Friday and posted blue, purple, pink and yellow notes of encouragement in the form of a heart. It’s a show of support after a long week of back-and-forth with President Donald Trump and his supporters, who chanted “send her back” at a rally earlier this week.

As a response to the rally chants and rhetoric from the president widely seen as racist, the anti-war group Code Pink organized a day of solidarity outside the Minnesota Democrat’s office. The group’s organizers were outside the office asking people to sign a note for Omar and gathering notes from those in the House office building cafeterias.

Ghosts of Confederate Mississippi endure in the Capitol
Jefferson Davis, James Z. George were Confederates, white supremacists

While answering phones in the Mississippi congressional office where he worked, Ty James was called the n-word by someone on the other end of the line. It was 2017 and marked the second time he had been called that.

Those kinds of experiences have helped convince James, a native Mississippian and African American who is press secretary for Rep. Bennie Thompson, that the two statues representing the state in the Capitol’s National Statuary Hall Collection shouldn’t be devoted to men who were Confederates and white supremacists.