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Exit Interview: Matthew Leffingwell Treasures Congressional Raconteurs

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: longtime House staffer calls it quits, moves on to sweet gig in the nonprofit world. Same old story, right? What’s different about Matthew Leffingwell’s swan song is that even though he’s joining a global powerhouse co-founded by musical royalty, the Capitol Hill vet insists he will genuinely miss hearing solons crack wise about, well, everything. The former aide to Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas — he served as her chief of staff for the past two years, and as deputy chief of staff for a couple before that — recently decamped from Capitol Hill to become the director of U.S. government relations at the politically connected ONE campaign, co-founded by U2 frontman Bono. And while he said he’ll certainly miss everything about the job — from the creature comforts (Favorite snack: “Chicken fingers at Capitol Carry-Out with BBQ sauce,” he shared via email. Assuming he meant the lip-smacking Carolina Gold sauce, we’re right there with you.) to the international exposure (“I will never get a chance to go to a place like East Timor ever again.”) — Leffingwell’s greatest regret appears to be parting company with the outsized personalities he interacted with on a daily basis. Those who wormed their way into his heart include: Ex-Rep. Ralph M. Hall, R-Texas (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo) “His old-timey knack for storytelling kept everyone laughing,” Leffingwell shared. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo) “His humor runs on thick, strong Cuban coffee.” Rep. John Carter, R-Texas (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo) “Phenomenal story teller.” Retired Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo) “His off-the-cuff wit was pure entertainment on the floor. “ Ex-Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont. (CQ Roll Call File Photo) “The Gopher-Nator story puts him in the top five.” No, that’s not code slamming former Rehberg challenger Melinda Gopher. According to Leffingwell, Rehberg was a firm believer in a certain critter-crushing, burrow-busting contraption billed as the “Rodenator.” “His pitch to me was not only persuasive but hysterical,” Leffingwell said. The 114th: CQ Roll Call's Guide to the New Congress Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.