congressional-staffers

Russia Portfolio Comes in Handy for Senate Staffer
Shaheen aide Naz Durakoglu comes via Atlantic Council, State Dept., House

Naz Durakoglu is a senior foreign policy adviser to New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. (Screenshot, Middle East Institute)

Naz Durakoglu started her new job working for Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in early June, shortly after the New Hampshire Democrat had pushed to add Russia sanctions to an Iran sanctions bill as it moved through the Foreign Relations Committee.

But after Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker of Tennessee said he would move ahead with a bipartisan effort to tighten sanctions against Moscow, Shaheen withdrew her amendments. The timing, though, put Durakoglu, as a senior foreign policy adviser to Shaheen, in the middle of discussions about how to respond to Russia’s efforts to meddle in the 2016 election.

D.C. Books Bring D.C. Women Together
Staffer Krista Harvey kicked off women’s book club this year

Krista Harvey, center, organized the first women's book club in April. (Courtesy Tess Glancey)

When one group of Washington women found out the new White House chief of staff read the C.S. Forester novel “The General” every time he was promoted during his career, they put the book next on their reading list.

Their book club is a non-political, unstructured, low-pressure space for book lovers and networking women founded by a Capitol Hill staffer looking for just that.

Zack Barth ‘Not Living in Fear’ After Congressional Baseball Shooting
Hill staffer talks about his shooter, his faith and life afterward

Zack Barth, an aide to Texas Rep. Roger Williams, was wounded in the leg during the shooting at the Republicans’ baseball practice in Arlington, Va., on June 14. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Zack Barth was never supposed to be dodging bullets in the outfield.

His job was to feed fly balls back to the infield for Republican lawmakers during an early-morning baseball practice ahead of the annual Congressional Baseball Game against the Democrats.

Ethics Committee Extending Conyers Review
OCE recommends panel investigate $50,000 paid to staffer on leave

The House Ethics Committee is looking into whether Michigan Rep. John Conyers Jr. paid a longtime staffer part of her salary while not performing official duties. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House Ethics Committee announced Wednesday it would extend its review of an inquiry into whether Michigan Democratic Rep. John Conyers Jr. paid a longtime aide more than $50,000 over a four-month period when the staffer might not have conducted official business.

A report from May by the Office of Congressional Ethics, with which the inquiry originated, detailed Conyers’ decision to place his then-chief of staff Cynthia Martin on leave without pay after she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor on March 30, 2016.

Congress Is Broken, and Staff Members Know Why
Survey reveals dissatisfaction with key performance measures

Staff members rated key areas of congressional dysfunction in a survey released Tuesday, including the low level of staff experience, a lack of time for members to focus on important issues and a paucity of access to nonpartisan reports. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Members of Congress will return in September to a glut of complex and technically challenging tasks, including tax policy, the debt ceiling, and Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

But they won’t have the staff expertise, time or outside resources to do the job.

Wasserman Schultz Defends Keeping Fired IT Worker
‘I believe that I did the right thing, and I would do it again,’ Florida congresswoman says

Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said she believes fired IT worker Imran Awan is getting additional scrutiny because he is Muslim. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz defended keeping a fired IT worker on her payroll despite the fact he was banned from the House network and fired by another member of Congress. 

Wasserman Schultz said it would have been easier to fire Imran Awan.

HOH’s Summer Reading List
There’s something for everyone in these six books

Clockwise from top left, books by Utah Sen. Mike Lee, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, the Library of Congress, Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, reporter Joshua Green and Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse make HOH’s summer reading list. (Courtesy Penguin Random House (Lee, Flake and Green), Hachette Book Group (Franken), Library of Congress, and Macmillan Publishers (Sasse))

Recess is one of the few times when Washingtonians can really settle into a good book.

Whether you’re taking time off or just have a quiet office this month, here is HOH’s list of new books for the D.C. congressional nerd to check out this summer.

Trump Threatens Congressional Health Insurance Benefits
Tweet may be prelude to rescinding employer contribution for members

President Donald Trump is suggesting his administration may act to slash health benefits for members of Congress. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump is considering stripping the employer contribution for health insurance away from members of Congress.

While the Trump White House has previously declined numerous requests from Roll Call to weigh in on the possibility, the president took to his favorite social media platform Saturday to make the threat himself.

Perdue’s Fellows Connect Congress to the Corps
Maj. Simba Chigwida is a national defense fellow this year

Georgia Sen. David Perdue poses with Maj. Jim Purekal, left, and Maj. Simba Chigwida in front of the Marine Corps War Memorial. (Courtesy Perdue’s office)

Georgia Sen. David Perdue’s office has had the unique opportunity of having two active-duty Marine Corps officers working there.

The Marine Corps affords some Marines the opportunity to apply for congressional fellowship positions and, if accepted, assigns them to a House or Senate office. Of the roughly 100 Marine fellows currently on the Hill, Perdue’s office has been assigned two back-to-back, which is pretty rare.

Labrador Takes Wife Off Campaign Payroll
Idaho Republican is a candidate for governor

Idaho Rep. Raúl R. Labrador announced his campaign for governor in May (Bill Clark/Roll Call file photo)

Idaho Rep. Raúl R. Labrador took his wife off his campaign payroll this year for the first time since taking office in 2011, a review of the congressman’s FEC reports shows.

The (Spokane) Spokesman-Review confirmed that Rebecca Johnson Labrador, who has kept the books for her husband since his first term in 2011, has not been paid this year by Labrador’s House campaign fund or the GOP lawmaker’s campaign for governor, which he launched and filed with the FEC in May.