Stephanie Akin

Chaffetz and Cummings: Flynn Might Have Illegally Accepted Payments from Russia
Oversight Committee could use subpoena power to compel White House to comply with investigation

Report: Chaffetz Might Leave Congress Early
Statement comes after Oversight Committee chairman announced he would not run in 2018

Jason Chaffetz said Thursday that he could leave Congress before the end of his term in 2018, Utah radio station KSL reported.

The comment comes in the wake of the Utah Republican’s surprise announcement on Wednesday that he would not run for reelection, or any other office, in 2018.

D.C. Home Rule Advocates to Continue Fight After Chaffetz Retirement Announcement
Others on Oversight Committee may be targeted next

Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s announcement that he will retire from Congress at the end of 2018 has made some folks in Washington, D.C., very happy.

Advocates for District of Columbia sovereignty see Chaffetz, the chairman of the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, as one of their biggest tormentors. The Republican lawmaker especially riled local groups to action by attempting to exercise the committee’s authority to overturn D.C. laws under the Home Rule Act, long a sore spot for District residents.

Foreign Influence in the U.S. Cloaked in Unnecessary Obscurity, Watchdog Groups Say
Outdated technology creates roadblocks to basic research on Americans lobbying for foreign governments

Want to know how much money a foreign government has spent to lobby members of Congress? How many times a lawmaker met with a lobbyist representing a foreign government? What if that person made a political donation on the same day?

Good luck finding the answers from the federal office charged with tracking American citizens who get paid to represent foreign interests in the U.S.

Dems to Trump: Now Let’s Talk About Refugees
Air strikes alone can’t mitigate humanitarian disaster, Democrats say

Democrats who were quick to express support for the American air strikes in Syria followed up Friday with a warning that the Trump administration cannot hope to fully address the humanitarian disaster without reassessing its intolerance toward refugees.

“The President said that images of slaughtered Syrian children contributed to his decision to take military action,” said California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris. “That should also compel the Administration to rethink its misguided refugee policy and open our doors to the children and families fleeing ongoing violence and oppression in Syria and elsewhere.”

Congress Wants to Hear Trump’s Syria Policy — and Fast
Members say Trump needs to consult them before taking any more action

Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle say they are waiting to hear President Donald Trump’s plan for his next step in Syria.

Many lawmakers — including some of Trump’s most vocal critics — offered support in the immediate aftermath of the U.S. bombing of a Syrian airbase Thursday night. But they said Trump needs to consult Congress before he takes any more steps.

Rep. Mike Kelly Considering Senate Run Against Casey
Pennsylvania congressman, senator trade barbs

Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Kelly amped up speculation Wednesday that he will try to oust Sen. Bob Casey next year, telling a conservative news site that he is considering a run for the seat.

“I’d be lying to you if I said I’m not looking so, sure. I’m looking,” the four-term Republican told The Daily Caller, adding that he was also interested in running for governor.

Corrine Brown Hands Out Ice Cream Before Hearing
Last pretrial proceeding before the start of her federal fraud trial

Former Rep. Corrine Brown handed out fudge pops and ice cream sandwiches down the street from a Florida courthouse Wednesday, hours before the final pretrial hearing in the federal fraud case against her.

“I am just thanking people for their support, their prayers,” the Florida Democrat told First Coast News from an ice cream truck parked outside Jacksonville City Hall. “They've been there for me and I just wanted to come out and say thank you.”

Rohrabacher’s Border Wall Funding Plan: Let Rich Immigrants Pay for It
California Republican says he discussed proposal with Trump in meeting

California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher said he told President Donald Trump that he knows how to pay for the border wall: sell U.S. citizenship to rich foreigners.

The 15-term Republican pitched the idea during a 45-minute meeting with Trump on Tuesday in the Oval Office, according to accounts in California newspapers. He told reporters that Trump was impressed.

Stockman Says He Can’t Afford a Lawyer
Ex-Texas congressman accused of using charitable donations illegally

Former Texas Rep. Steve Stockman, accused of helping to steal $800,000 in charitable contributions, told a federal magistrate Wednesday that he can no longer afford his boutique lawyers because he has only $17 in his bank account.

Stockman, 60, who vacated his House seat in 2014 after an unsuccessful bid to knock off Sen. John Cornyn in the Texas Republican primary, owns a home, a rental property and two vans, according to the newspaper’s account of court testimony. His wife earns $6,000 a month. But he told U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy Johnson that he had exhausted his assets during the lengthy investigation and had to dismiss the lawyers from an elite Texas law firm who had been representing him, the Houston Chronicle reported. 

Some GOP Lawmakers Push Back Against EPA Cuts
Decimating environmental agency could hurt — even in Trump country

As President Donald Trump introduces a series of budget cuts and regulatory rollbacks that would cripple the Environmental Protection Agency, he faces one unpredictable obstacle: resistance from fellow Republicans.

A small but vocal number of GOP lawmakers have rallied in support of popular programs in their districts, including clean water programs in the Great Lakes and the Chesapeake Bay, that are among the biggest losers in the budget Trump proposed to Congress last month.

Lawmakers Introduce Bills to Ease Tax Burdens, Criminal Penalties on Pot
Proposal comes amid continued confusion about Trump administration stance

Two of Congress’ biggest proponents of marijuana legalization redoubled their efforts Thursday with a package of bills to “pave the way” for federal regulation of the burgeoning pot industry. 

How The GOP’s Health Care Law Went Down
A play-by-play of one of the most momentous days in Trump’s presidency

It was a nail-biter of a day with a photo finish.

The Republican Party’s seven-year effort to repeal the 2010 health care law ended with a thud Friday when the GOP decided not to even subject its do-or-die alternative to a vote.

The Supreme Court Confirmation Battle That Began 30 Years Ago
Three senators on Judiciary panel weathered watershed 1987 fight

In one of the more striking moments from the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch this week, Sen. Charles E. Grassley offered this advice:

Don’t answer every question.

Massive Eisenhower Memorial Could Break Ground as Early as September
Congressional support among the last barriers after 20-year dispute

Construction could begin as early as September on a proposed memorial for President Dwight D. Eisenhower that has been mired in controversy for almost 20 years. 

That’s according to the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission and the chairman of the House committee that oversees the funding for the project.

Think Modern-Day Politics Are a Revival of the Nixon Era? Check It Out
Newly released 1970s Congressional Records document familiar themes

The president feuds with the media. Congress investigates secret intelligence operations. And tensions simmer between the United States and Iran. 

Welcome to the 1970s.

The Democrat Who Hugged the President
Trump and Sen. Joe Manchin share an interlocked fate

Most Democrats fled after President Donald Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress last week. But Sen. Joe Manchin III instead approached him — and leaned in for a hug.

The gesture only lasted a few seconds. But it speaks volumes about the symbiotic relationship that has emerged between the West Virginia Democrat and the Republican president in recent months.

Last of Trump Nominees With Russian Ties Set to Sail Through Confirmation
Vote on Commerce secretary-designee Wilbur Ross comes amid new questions

Commerce Secretary nominee Wilbur Ross was a top shareholder in a Cypriot bank with deep Russian ties when he met with the principal Russian investor. 

That meeting lasted only an hour, according to a cursory account Ross provided to the Senate. What he discussed during the encounter and the identity of the investor are among a number of unanswered questions about Ross’ potential connections to influential Russian figures as he awaits a vote on his confirmation Monday.

With No Vote in Congress, D.C. Residents Find Power in Cash
District voters are supporting Jason Chaffetz’s challenger in Utah

It was only the second political contribution Sarah Carr had made in her life. A $100 gift to an obscure politician from a distant state whose values hardly align with her own.

But Carr, a 41-year-old marine scientist who lives on Capitol Hill, had a clear goal: she wanted to support anyone who might oust Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz.

Pro-Pot Lawmakers to Join Forces, Launch Cannabis Caucus
Move comes amid uncertainty for state marijuana laws under Trump

Lawmakers looking to draw attention to pet issues have formed groups in favor of everything from auto care to zoos. Now, there’s a caucus for cannabis. 

Rep. Earl Bluemenauer said the move — to be announced at a press conference Thursday — is a sign of how mainstream the drive for marijuana legalization has become.