staffers

Texas Governor Wants Blake Farenthold to Pay for Special Election
GOP lawmaker resigned earlier this month over sexual misconduct and hostile workplace allegations

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, resigned from Congress in April amid an Ethics Committee investigation into him and his office for a hostile work environment and sexual misconduct. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is asking former Rep. Blake Farenthold to pay for the June 30 special election to fill the seat the congressman vacated when he resigned earlier this month.

Abbott wrote a letter to Farenthold Wednesday to “demand” that he “cover all costs” for the June 30 special election in Texas’ 27th District.

Texas Governor Wants ‘Emergency’ Special Election for Farenthold’s Seat
Special election must wait until Nov. 6 midterm under current rules

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, resigned earlier in April amid an Ethics Committee investigation into claims of sexual harassment and a hostile work environment within his congressional office. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott wants to have a special election to replace former GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold as soon as possible, and he’s asking whether he can suspend certain election laws to do so.

Abbott sent a letter Thursday to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton outlining his desire to hold a special election soon and asking what laws he could bypass to speed up the process.

Appropriators’ Right-Hand Man Sounds Off on the Current Senate
Staff director is deeply steeped in Senate culture, history

Bruce Evans, staff director for the Senate Appropriations Committee, speaks with Roll Call on April 12. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Bruce Evans may be one of the last remaining staffers of a Senate that is slowly fading into the rearview mirror of history.

His list of influencers reads like a checklist of the chamber’s all-time most prominent Republican members. Evans learned tenacity from the late Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, tried to keep up with the intellect of former Sen. Slade Gorton of Washington, and was taught how to connect to constituents by former Sen. Conrad Burns of Montana.

Man Pleads Not Guilty to Threatening Speier’s Staff
California man repeatedly called office, threatened to torture staffers, told them to ‘go sell their bodies’

A man plead not guilty to threatening staff for Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A California man pleaded not guilty to threatening to kill staffers for California Rep. Jackie Speier in a series of “bizarre” messages to her office. 

Ronald Lafaye, 52, was charged with making criminal threats and threatening a public official, along with the lesser misdemeanor charge of calling to annoy or threaten, San Francisco's CBS affiliate reported.

DSCC Hires New Field Director
Lauren Brainerd coordinated campaigns in Virginia

A sign at a polling station in Gallant, Ala., during last year’s Senate special election in Alabama. Victories in Virginia last year and recent special elections indicate Democrats have momentum heading into the November midterms. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced Monday that a veteran of recent successes in Virginia will be leading the group’s field program this year.

Lauren Brainerd, who was most recently the campaign director for the Virginia Democratic Party, will be the DSCC’s new field director, according to an announcement shared first with Roll Call. Brainerd oversaw last year’s campaigns for statewide office in the Old Dominion, including the gubernatorial race. She also oversaw campaigns for the state House of Delegates, where victories (the party won 15 seats) signaled Democratic energy heading into the 2018 midterms.

Hardy Campaign Adviser Fired After He Made Ex-Fiancee His ‘Slave’
Benjamin Sparks was fired from consultant’s job working on Rep. Cresent Hardy’s campaign

Former Nevada Rep. Cresent Hardy fired political strategist Benjamin Sparks from his campaign amid a domestic battery investigation. (D.A. Banks/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Benjamin Sparks, a political strategist who has worked on several high-profile Republican campaigns over the last decade, was fired in March from his position working on former Rep. Cresent Hardy’s campaign after police responded to a domestic dispute between Sparks and his then-fiancee.

It turns out Sparks and his fiancée had signed a contract in November making the woman his “slave in training,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported, citing text messages, emails and a copy of the contract the ex-fiancee shared with the publication.

Esty Used Personal Email in Severance With Abusive Staffer
Office threatened to involve Capitol Police over news outlet’s publication of personal email address

Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-Conn., announced Monday that she would not run for re-election after much criticism over how she handled complaints against her former chief of staff who threatened to kill another staffer. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 3:16 p.m. | Rep. Elizabeth Esty is not running for re-election, but the fallout over how she handled an abusive staffer’s firing continued to dog the embattled Connecticut Democrat on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, the congresswoman’s office provided Connecticut Public Radio with a copy of the signed severance agreement between Esty and former Chief of Staff Tony Baker, which contained her personal email address. But after the document was published, her office notified the radio station that it had sent the wrong file and asked that it be replaced with a redacted version. 

Lawmakers Rekindle Efforts to End Harassment on Hill but Face Uncertain Future
Recent omnibus did not include sweeping House-passed harassment measure

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., right, blames Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for not including the House-passed sexual harassment legislation in the recent omnibus bill. Also pictured, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A renewed push is underway to more forcefully address Capitol Hill’s sexual harassment problem, just as the latest scandal has led another lawmaker to retire.

It’s not yet clear if a bipartisan call from female senators will be strong enough to prompt Senate leadership to take up legislation to protect staff on Capitol Hill when lawmakers return Monday from a two-week recess. All 22 female Republican and Democratic senators signed on to a letter last week urging Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer to bring House-passed legislation to the floor.

Rep. Elizabeth Esty Won’t Seek Re-Election in Wake of Abusive Staffer Disclosures
Connecticut Democrat’s decision opens up potentially competitive seat

Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-Conn., says she will retire at the end of this term amid reports of her questionable handling of a former chief of staff who battered, threatened, and sexually harassed a subordinate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Embattled Rep. Elizabeth Esty has decided not to run for re-election, she announced via Facebook on Monday.

The Connecticut Democrat faced bipartisan criticism over the weekend after multiple news outlets reported her questionable handling of a former top aide who battered, threatened, and sexually harassed a female employee in her office.

Esty Asks Ethics Committee to Investigate Her Handling of Abusive Top Staffer
Connecticut Democrat has no plans to resign over incident

Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-Conn., is not resigning over her handling of abuse and harassment allegations against her former chief of staff. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Connecticut Democratic Rep. Elizabeth Esty on Monday asked the House Ethics Committee to open an inquiry into how she handled abuse, battery, and sexual harassment allegations against her former chief of staff.

“Although we worked with the House Employment Counsel to investigate and ultimately dismiss this employee for his outrageous behavior with a former staffer, I believe it is important for the House Ethics Committee to conduct its own inquiry into this matter,” she said in a statement. “It certainly was far from a perfect process — and I would appreciate their advice, counsel, and review."