Ben Ray Lujan

Ethics Committee Drops Ben Ray Luján Sit-In Inquiry
Panels Democrats who used phones on floor need ‘additional guidance’

New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján joined his fellow Democrats during a House floor sit-in last June to protest GOP inaction on gun control legislation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House Ethics Committee cleared Democratic Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico of violating chamber rules by sending campaign-related emails during a sit-in on the House floor last June because the panel concluded members need “additional guidance” when it came to the use of electronic devices in the chamber.

While an inquiry by the Office of Congressional Ethics found there was reason to believe Luján, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, may have conducted campaign activity and asked the Ethics panel to take up the matter, the independent OCE also acknowledged that its review “raised difficult questions about the application of House rules to solicitations via email.”

Podcast: What's the Spiel With Democrats' Better Deal?
The Big Story, Episode 64

From left, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., attend a rally with House and Senate Democrats to announce "A Better Deal" economic agenda. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Opinion: Democrats Cut the Cards in Search of a Better Deal
Sending a message to Joe Sixpack

From left, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen, New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner and Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos at the congressional Democrats’ rally in Berryville, Va., on Monday to unveil their new economic agenda. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Under the bright sun in Berryville, Virginia, Monday afternoon, the congressional Democrats demonstrated that they can change. Or, at least, they can paper over their differences.

At the beginning of an hourlong rollout of their 2018 economic agenda, “A Better Deal,” Chuck Schumer labeled as a “false choice” the debate over “whether Democrats should spend all our energy focusing on the diverse Obama coalition or the blue-collar Americans in the heartland who voted for Trump.”

Democrats Mix Politics With Policy Rollout in Virginia
‘Better Deal’ agenda seeks to unite party factions

Congressional Democrats, led by Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, center, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, left, and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Ben Ray Luján, right, rolled out their new agenda on Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

By NIELS LESNIEWSKI and BRIDGET BOWMAN

BERRYVILLE, Va. — The visit by House and Senate Democrats to a rural Virginia county that voted for President Donald Trump wasn’t technically all about politics, but they were unavoidable.

Democrats Eyeing Maine Natives to Unseat Bruce Poliquin
GOP sophomore starts with incumbency and financial advantage

Maine Rep. Bruce Poliquin has twice defeated Democrat Emily Cain, but if he seeks re-election in 2018, he’ll face a new challenger. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Bruce Poliquin initially looked like a ripe target last cycle.

A freshman Republican, he was sitting in a longtime Democratic district former President Barack Obama comfortably carried twice. 

What’s Ohio’s Tim Ryan Up To?
Youngstown Democrat in media spotlight again — and on the trail

Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan greets voters in South Carolina's 5th District, where he campaigned earlier this month for Democratic candidate Archie Parnell. (Simone Pathé/CQ Roll Call)

The weekend before South Carolina’s special election, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan had been thrown into the lion’s den — “literally,” he joked. 

As a surrogate for an under-the-radar Democratic candidate in the 5th District race, the congressman from Youngstown, Ohio, was addressing a Lions Club candidate forum in a gated community south of Charlotte, North Carolina, where the room was mostly white, elderly and Republican.

Six Who Could Succeed Pelosi — Someday
Ouster talk fades, but speculation continues about the next generation of House Democratic leaders

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says she’s “very confident” she retains the support of most members of her Democratic Caucus. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

One week after House Democrats finished 0-for-4 in this special election season, their burst of frustration and pique vented toward Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi appears to have fizzled.

The vexation is not going to fade away altogether, however, and neither will the lawmakers’ whispered talk in the cloakrooms or after their nightly fundraisers about which of them has a plausible shot at someday becoming Pelosi’s successor.

GOP Super PAC Plans to Go All In on Pelosi Attacks
Congressional Leadership Fund polling shows minority leader underwater

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will continue to be targeted by outside groups to attack Democrats in 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

On the heels of a Republican victory in Georgia’s 6th District last week, the major GOP super PAC that played in that race is making known its plans to spend millions tying Democratic House candidates to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in 2018.

The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC backed by House GOP leadership, spent $7 million in the Georgia special election — much of it on attacks that tried to tie Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff to Pelosi. It launched similar attacks against the Democrat in the special election for Montana’s at-large district, which Republicans also won.  

DCCC Names Cheri Bustos Chairwoman of Heartland Engagement
Illinois Democrat will mentor candidates, deliver economic message in rural districts

Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos has been named chairwoman of Heartland Engagement for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for 2018. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos, already active in candidate recruitment and policy messaging, has a new role helping her party try to win the House majority in 2018.

New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, appointed Bustos chairwoman of heartland engagement for the Democrats’ campaign arm on Tuesday. In that role, the third-term congresswoman will be mentoring Democratic candidates and helping shape an economic message in rural areas — both of which she’s already been doing.

Ethics Committee Investigating Luján, Conyers and House Staffer
House panel reveals it took up matter from OCE in May

Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., is being investigated by the House Ethics Committee along with Ben Ray Luján and a House staffer. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House Ethics Committee acknowledged Monday it is investigating Reps. Ben Ray Luján, John Conyers and House staffer Michael Collins.

The panel did not disclose details of its inquiry. Since the probe was referred to the House committee by the Office of Congressional Ethics, details of the OCE’s reports are expected to be made public August 9.