John Conyers Jr

Opinion: Women Played a Key Role in Harassment Bill
In the #MeToo era, some lawmakers may be scurrying for cover

Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Ind., describes legislation aimed at helping victims of harassment on the Hill as “some of the most important work” she’ll ever do in the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When people talk about women running for office, we hear a lot about numbers. X-number of women are running. Women make up y-percent of Congress or elected officials. When x and y are equal, then we’ll finally see a difference in our government.

But beyond the numbers, if you really want to see the difference it makes to have women from both parties at the table when legislation is drafted, look no further than the bill introduced last week to finally begin to change the way sexual harassment has been dealt with in Capitol Hill offices since the Congressional Accountability Act passed in 1995.

Meehan Denies Wrongdoing Following Report of Harassment Settlement
Pennsylvania Republican is a Democratic target this year

Pennsylvania Rep. Patrick Meehan reportedly settled a harassment case using taxpayer funds. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 4:18 p.m. | Rep. Patrick Meehan denied allegations of misconduct Saturday, following a New York Times story that the Pennsylvania Republican used taxpayer funds to settle a sexual harassment case. The newspaper reported that the four-term lawmaker made unwanted romantic advances toward a female staffer in 2016.  

“Congressman Meehan denies the allegations,” his spokesman John Elizandro said in an email. “Throughout his career he has always treated his colleagues, male and female, with the utmost respect and professionalism.”

Supreme Court to Revisit Internet Sales Tax Ruling
Bipartisan group of lawmakers want previous decision overruled

From left, Sens. Michael B. Enzi of Wyoming, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Richard J. Durbin of Illinois want the Supreme Court to overrule a decision that prevented states from collecting sales tax on internet purchases. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court will decide whether businesses must collect sales tax on online transactions in states where they don’t have a physical presence, in a case closely watched by lawmakers, states and online retailers.

The case gives the justices a chance to reshape internet commerce, something Congress hasn’t done since the high court last ruled on the issue in 1992. Back then, the court barred states from collecting sales tax from vendors that were out of state.

Inspired by #MeToo, Some Staffers Are Telling Congress’ Secrets
Beneficiaries of confidential settlements challenge code of silence

A former staff member of Oregon Rep. Greg Walden says he was inspired by the #MeToo movement to release documents outlining a $7,000 workplace discrimination and disability settlement with Walden’s office in 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Cody Standiford is not exactly saying #MeToo.  He’s never been a victim of sexual misconduct.

But he may end up helping congressional staffers who have. The Iraq War veteran recently defied a legal agreement to shed light on how Congress handles harassment and discrimination complaints.

Sherrod Brown, Black Lawmakers Back Voters in Ohio Purge Case
Democrats argue Buckeye State is disenfranchising legitimate voters

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, enlisted McDonald’s in his voter registration efforts when he was Ohio’s secretary of state. He is arguing that the high court should reject the state’s efforts to purge voters from the registration rolls. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court hears oral arguments Wednesday about Ohio’s effort to remove voters from its registration rolls, and some members of Congress have told the justices that the Buckeye State’s process violates federal laws meant to protect voters.

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus filed separate briefs in the case siding with groups that challenged Ohio’s law. The state’s “supplemental process” uses a list of people who haven’t voted in recent elections to trigger steps that could remove them from the voter rolls.

House Democrats Pick Nadler Over Lofgren for Judiciary Post
Caucus sticks with seniority tradition

House Democrats picked Jerrold Nadler, right, over Zoe Lofgren to be the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. (CQ Roll Call file photos)

House Democrats voted Wednesday to elect New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler as ranking member of the Judiciary Committee over California Rep. Zoe Lofgren.

The vote was 118-72, according to Virginia Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, who declined to say whom he voted for, citing the secret ballot process. The caucus action followed the recommendation made Tuesday by the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.

Democratic Panel Supports Nadler for Top Spot on Judiciary
Full Democratic caucus votes on Wednesday

The Democratic Steering Committee has recommended Rep. Jerrold Nadler be the next top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

An influential group of House Democrats voted Tuesday to formally recommend Rep. Jerrold Nadler as the next ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, a high-profile post that could become even more pivotal after the 2018 elections.

The Democratic Steering and Policy Committee sided 41-18 for Nadler over Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California. Their recommendation goes to a vote Wednesday before the full Democratic Caucus, which does not have to follow the steering committee’s recommendation.

Congress Mandated Harassment Training; Now They Have to Pay for It
Costs, details of the popular resolution still up in the air

Lawmakers, with Gretchen Carlson, unveil sexual harassment legislation earlier this month. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

 

The House and Senate each adopted resolutions mandating harassment and discrimination training for employees of Congress and legislative agencies. Yet it’s not clear how much the training will cost and what it will include.

House Democrats Face Tough Choices in Judiciary Panel Race
Nadler and Lofgren vie for top spot amid party’s soul-searching

Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, left, and Jerrold Nadler of New York are vying to be the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. (CQ Roll Call)

Two experienced Democratic lawmakers with contrasting styles are vying to become the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, and the vote this week could signal much more than just who will press the party’s agenda on the panel.

The choice of Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York or Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California will reveal much about the Democrats’ long-term strategy for a key committee as it deals with the tumult of President Donald Trump’s administration, the special counsel investigating his campaign, threats to civil rights and a reckoning of allegations of improper sexual behavior sweeping through Capitol Hill.

Report: Head of Congressional Ethics Office Sued
Ashmawy accused of verbal abuse and physical assault in civil action

Omar Ashmawy, staff director at the Office of Congressional Ethics. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The staff director and chief counsel for the Office of Congressional Ethics is being sued for verbally abusing and physically assaulting women. 

Omar Ashmawy’s case goes back to his involvement in a late-night brawl in 2015 in Milford, Pennsylvania, according to Foreign Policy.