Hannah Hess

Capitol Police Roll Out Transgender Policy; Union Cries Foul

Capitol Police rolled out a progressive new policy on Oct. 29 for handling interactions with transgender individuals.  

The six-page directive, obtained by CQ Roll Call, instructs officers on security screening, frisks, medical treatment and arrests for a population that the Justice Department defines as particularly vulnerable. One of the most high-profile cases in police treatment of transgender people centered on the Washington Metropolitan Police Department's mistreatment of Patti Hammond Shaw , a transgender female who filed a landmark suit involving MPD and members of the U.S. Marshals.  

Critics Decry Capitol Police 'Old Boys' Network'

A two-word email sent on the eve of the Oct. 10 Million Man March prompted Capitol Police to confiscate the gun and badge of a newly promoted captain, only to return both items on Oct. 13.  

The incident is still under investigation, according to outgoing Chief Kim C. Dine, who credits the department with taking “swift and appropriate action” when employees misbehave. But a congressional aide familiar with the captain’s case said the agency's “old boys' network is attempting to make an example of a woman who has a reputation for calling out improper behavior.” The original message, sent at 8:41 a.m. by an administrative officer in the department’s Protective Services Bureau, notified a few dozen employees that the security pin color for the week ahead would be, “BLACK.”  

Paul Ryan Asked to Curb Congressional Travel

Speaker D. Paul Ryan should suspend privately funded foreign travel by House members and staff, watchdog organizations said Thursday in a two-page letter that asks the Wisconsin Republican to launch a formal task force to review travel rules.  

"The amount of privately-sponsored travel, once slashed by [the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act] to one-third its previous levels, is again rising near to the level of the Jack Abramoff travel junket era," the Campaign Legal Center, Common Cause, Public Citizen and others warned. Ryan has accepted only two privately financed trips abroad over the past 15 years, according to Legistorm. A database of congressional travel from 2000 to present shows Ryan traveled to Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates with the Islamic Institute in 2004 and Tel Aviv, Israel, with the American Israel Education Foundation in 2005. He's taken a total of 17 privately funded trips, mainly to domestic destinations.

Congress' Car Dealers Offer Boehner Shopping Advice

On his way out the door, former Speaker John A. Boehner proclaimed one of his top post-retirement priorities was buying a new set of wheels, and Congress' car salesmen are lining up to close the deal.  

"Red Mustang GT convertible, that's my recommendation for the speaker," said Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Va., who built his business acumen as the owner of Freedom Automotive, operating Ford and Volvo dealerships in Virginia’s 2nd District. The Ohio Republican spent nine years being driven around by Capitol Police. House Republicans provided him with a golf cart as a retirement gift. But Boehner said during exit interviews he looked forward to shopping for a new automobile.  

Fattah's Son Found Guilty on 22 Counts in Fraud Case

A jury found Rep. Chaka Fattah's son guilty on 22 of 23 counts Thursday in a federal bank and tax fraud case, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Chaka “Chip” Fattah Jr. was indicted on July 29, 2014, for alleged misspending of loans and education funds he received as part of his role in school management. One year later, federal prosecutors announced a 29-count indictment against his father, an 11-term Pennsylvania Democrat.  

In the latter half of 2014, multiple members of the congressman’s inner circle were targeted by the Department of Justice.  

Hill Makes Pitch for Protected Bike Lanes

The commute could get a little easier for cyclists who trek between Union Station and Capitol Hill, if Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers and local transportation officials can agree.  

Support for a protected bike lane on Louisiana Avenue has grown steadily in recent months, with the Congressional Bike Caucus and Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen backing the plan. On Wednesday, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., added her voice to the chorus. "This project has broad support from the community and Members of Congress, and it would provide a vital benefit to the many residents, visitors, and workers that traverse the area by bicycle," she wrote in a letter to Ayers and District of Columbia Department of Transportation Director Leif Dormsjo.  

Bison Lovers to Stampede Rayburn Tonight

The Senate agreed to designate Nov. 7 as National Bison Day, but the bison lobby hopes for thunderous herds Wednesday night on Capitol Hill.  

Rayburn's Gold Room hosts the 4th annual Congressional National Bison Day Reception, featuring crowd-pleasing bison sliders, booze and a cupcake tribute to the big-horned mammal.

Takai to Undergo Surgery for Cancerous Tumor

Freshman Rep. Mark Takai will undergo surgery next week to remove a small, cancerous tumor in his pancreas. In an effort to keep his Hawaiian constituents updated, the Democratic congressman announced Tuesday evening that he has scheduled the Nov. 10 procedure at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. Takai's doctors discovered the tumor last week when they conducted diagnostic tests in response to certain stomach pains and discomfort the freshman congressman had been experiencing for several weeks.  

“All tests show that the tumor is small and isolated. I am in good spirits and thankful that my prognosis remains good thanks to the early detection,” Takai, 48, said in a statement. “My family and I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love, support and prayers. We ask for your continued prayers, support and respect for our privacy during this challenging time."  

March for Life Previews 2016 Theme for Hill Staffers

Two months before their annual rally against the Roe v. Wade ruling, organizers of the March for Life will lift the curtain on their 2016 theme, "Pro-Life and Pro-Woman Go Hand in Hand," at a Capitol briefing.  

Geared toward Hill staffers who oppose abortion from either side of the aisle, Wednesday's lunchtime event will encourage attendees "to be bolder on the issue of life," said Tom McClusky, vice president of government affairs for the March for Life Education and Defense Fund. Staffers will learn tips to help their bosses "counter the false narrative of, 'being pro-life means you're anti-woman,'" McClusky said, adding that he expects a "war on women" narrative to resurface as the presidential race gains speed.  

Reid Wants to Hire Post-Retirement Aide With Campaign Cash

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has asked the Federal Election Commission for permission to hire a full-time assistant for post-retirement help.

The Nevada Democrat wants to use campaign cash from the Searchlight Leadership Fund, his leadership PAC, to pay an aide to help clean out his office, book post-Senate media appearances and cover other costs associated with winding down his tenure in leadership and the Senate.

Steve Cohen: FBI HQ Should Dump 'Bully' Hoover

J. Edgar Hoover was a "bully" whose name does not belong on the FBI's headquarters, Rep. Steve Cohen argues. But the Tennessee Democrat's alternative is pretty bland.  

Armed with evidence of Hoover's prejudice against gays and lesbians, Cohen wants to rename 935 Pennsylvania Ave. NW the "Federal Bureau of Investigation Building."  

Overheard: Hurry Up, Chris Murphy

After midnight Friday, a live microphone captured one Senate clerk knocking Sen. Christopher S. Murphy's sleepy pace.  

"Yeah, uh, he better get his ass here, before, they've already lost one vote because he's not here," said the clerk, who may not have realized C-SPAN was capturing his 1 a.m. commentary.  

Meeks Suffers Heart Attack

When the House clerk called for Rep. Gregory W. Meeks' vote for speaker on Thursday, there was silence.  

The New York Democrat was rushed to the hospital the day before after experiencing chest pain. "In a short time my doctors informed me that I had a blocked artery which caused a mild heart attack," Meeks, 62, said in a statement a few hours after the speaker election. "The doctors successfully placed a stent in my artery to clear it. I expect to return to work in a few days."  

Post-Boehner: Congress Flouts Decorum During Speaker Vote

Congress couldn't resist hamming it up during Thursday's roll call vote for speaker.  

"California Cheeseheads for Paul Ryan," Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Calif., said when his turn came, causing some giggles. "Paul Davis Ryan," said Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., sporting a smirk.  

Mark Takai to Undergo Treatment for Pancreatic Tumor

Freshman Rep. Mark Takai, D-Hawaii, has been diagnosed with a small tumor on his pancreas after undergoing tests to determine the source of stomach pain.  

Takai, 48, released a statement about the health issue after it caused him to miss House votes on Monday and Tuesday. “A few days ago, my doctors conducted diagnostic tests in response to certain stomach pains and discomfort that I have been experiencing for several weeks. The tests show that I have a small tumor in the pancreas and I will shortly begin treatment. My prognosis is very good thanks to early detection and my doctors are confident that I will make a speedy and full recovery,” Takai said in the release dated Oct. 27.  

Time for Boehner to Break Out the Bubbly

Speaker John A. Boehner received a special delivery before the House gaveled into session Thursday morning.  

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema was spotted bringing champagne into the speaker's office. Asked if the bottle was for Boehner or incoming Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., the Arizona Democrat told HOH it was for the Ohio Republican and quipped, "Don't you think he needs it more?" Sinema added that Boehner earned it, a sentiment shared across Capitol Hill in his final hour.  

Carper Hit With Ethics Complaint Over Clinton Endorsement

Endorsing Hillary Rodham Clinton for president has landed Sen. Thomas R. Carper, D-Del., in the crosshairs of a conservative watchdog group.  

A complaint filed Wednesday with the Senate Ethics Committee pertains not to whom Carper endorsed on Oct. 26 , but how he did it. Alleging a misuse of taxpayer-funded resources, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust has asked Ethics Chairman Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and ranking member Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., to investigate the senator for posting his Clinton endorsement as a press release on his official "senate.gov" Web page.  

Cops Clinch 14-6 Win Over Congress

The Capitol Police "Guards" notched a gritty 14-6 victory on Wednesday over the "Mean Machine" in the Congressional Football Game for Charity at Watkins Recreation Center on Capitol Hill.  

But members of Congress and their ex-NFL counterparts put up a competitive fight, led by quarterback Rep. Robert J. Dold, R-Ill., despite wet, windy and slippery conditions.

The Dude Does Not Abide Hungry Kids


Congress' policy for feeding hungry kids during the summer is straight out of the '60s, and "The Dude" does not abide.