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House Democrats unveil first major legislative package of voting, campaign finance and ethics overhauls
Committees will soon begin marking up aspects of the package ahead of floor vote on H.R. 1

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., plan to bring a bill to the floor in the coming weeks to overhaul voting and campaign finance laws. Democrats are introducing it as H.R. 1 to signal that it’s their top priority. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Automatic voter registration, independent redistricting commissions, super PAC restrictions, forced release of presidential tax returns — these are just a handful of the provisions in a massive government overhaul package House Democrats will formally unveil Friday, according to a summary of the legislation obtained by Roll Call. 

The package is being introduced as H.R. 1 to show that it’s the top priority of the new Democratic majority. Committees with jurisdiction over the measures will hold markups on the legislation before the package is brought to the floor sometime later this month or early in February. 

Divided government will pose an obstacle to lawmaking in 2019
Congress was most dysfunctional from 2011 to 2014 when control of House and Senate was split

The partial government shutdown is already casting a dark shadow for prospects of what Congress might accomplish in 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Washington tends to work best when one party controls both Congress and the White House. It’s most gridlocked, usually, when control of Congress is split.

The Congress of the past two years demonstrated the first principle. By any honest measure, President Donald Trump and his Republican colleagues in the House and Senate got a lot done in 2017 and 2018.

Despite Campaign Finance Issues, Rep.-elect Ross Spano Staffs Capitol Hill Office
Former longtime staffer to Rep. John Culberson will fill role of chief of staff

Rep.-elect Ross Spano, R-Fla., announced his new staff today. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Florida Rep.-elect Ross Spano announced his senior staff Thursday, quieting concerns that the freshman Republican would not be able to fill his office amid looming legal questions about his campaign financing and reports that job candidates have been alarmed by the role of a controversial donor in the hiring process.

Spano faces bipartisan calls for inquiries by the Federal Election Commission and the House Ethics Committee into how he funded his campaign to replace Rep. Dennis A. Ross, who retired, in the 15th District.

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill?
Crenshaw reaches out to troubled comic, Lankford in a boot, and Corker on Peyton Manning

Sen. Tom Cotton’s 2-year-old son Daniel makes friends with Sen. Susan Collins as the two walk to a vote on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. Some of the best are ones we come across while reporting the big stories.

There is life beyond legislating, and this is the place for it. We look, but we don’t find everything. We want to know what you see too.

Ethics Office Report Released on Lame Duck Rod Blum
House Ethics jurisdiction will expire when Iowa Republican leaves Congress

Outgoing Rep. Rod Blum, R-Iowa, is the subject of an ethics inquery. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Office of Congressional Ethics released its report on allegations against Iowa Republican Rod Blum Monday, while the House Ethics Committee announced that it is continuing its own inquiry, but likely not for long.

The House Ethics panel began the inquiry into Blum in July when it received a referral from the Office of Congressional Ethics and extended the inquiry in early September. In February, the Associated Press reported that Blum violated House ethics rules by failing to disclose his ownership role in a new company and that his top federal staffer was featured in a false testimonial promoting the company’s services.

GOP Could Ditch Mark Harris in Potential North Carolina Primary Re-Do
Republican state lawmakers have passed bill to hold new primary if elections board tosses initial results due to illegal tampering

Republican lawmakers in North Carolina have raised the possibility of allowing their party to ditch 9th District candidate Mark Harris in a new primary election if the Nov. 7 results for his race are tossed out. (John D. Simmons /The Charlotte Observer via AP)

Republican state lawmakers in North Carolina have passed legislation that would allow the party to ditch Mark Harris in a new primary election for the 9th District seat if the state board of elections there decides to toss out the results of the Nov. 7 midterms.

Now the bill sits on Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk.

Trump’s Action-Packed Week Previews a Wild Year Ahead
‘They would be impeachable offenses,’ Nadler says of campaign finance violations

President Donald Trump argues about border security with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as Vice President Mike Pence sits nearby in the Oval Office on Dec. 11. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS | Democratic hands in Washington spent the 2017 holiday season musing at cocktail parties about how little they would miss Donald Trump's first year in office, only to be shocked by an even more chaotic 2018.

Just wait until they see 2019.

Trump Breaks Silence on Cohen Sentencing, Returns to Mexico Wall Claim
‘I never directed Michael Cohen to break the law,’ president claims

President Donald Trump talks to reporters before leaving the White House on a rainy day in October. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

As federal investigators appear to be moving closer and closer to his doorstep, President Donald Trump broke his silence on several new legal developments but he returned Thursday to his familiar contention that Mexico will pay for his southern border wall.

First on Wednesday, Trump’s former personal attorney and “fixer,” Michael Cohen, was sentenced to three years in prison for campaign finance violations that he said his former client ordered. Later in the day, prosecutors signaled that the National Enquirer’s parent company, American Media Inc., had flipped, meaning the company and its executives are cooperating with federal officials.

Senate Narrowly Votes to Reject IRS Donor Disclosure Rule

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., has been a proponent of disclosure requirements for nonprofits spending money on elections. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate voted 50-49 to repeal a rule that shields donors to many nonprofit groups from disclosure to IRS officials.

The dramatic vote was tied at 49-49 with 49 Democrats voting in favor and 49 Republicans against, when Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, cast the deciding vote to repeal the rule. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C. was absent.

Former Rep. Steve Stockman’s Staffer Sentenced in Fraud Case
Thomas Dodd pleaded guilty in March 2017

An aide to former Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, was sentenced to prison and fined. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Former Capitol Hill staffer, Thomas Dodd, was sentenced Wednesday for participating in an extensive scheme that involved defrauding charitable donors by laundering funds to pay personal and campaign expenses.

Dodd, 40, was an aide to former Rep. Steve Stockman. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison, ordered to pay $800,000 in restitution and ordered to forfeit $153,044.28 in illicit gains.