Lamar Smith

Amid troubles, Trump has huge cash advantage for 2020
But Democrats have already raised $700 million from small-dollar donors giving $200 or less

President Donald Trump may have many barriers in the way of a smooth campaign, but fundraising will not be one. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For all the drama surrounding President Donald Trump — an unfolding House impeachment probe, former aides in prison and his personal consigliere reportedly under federal investigation — there’s one worry he doesn’t face: money for his 2020 campaign.

The White House incumbent, who took the unprecedented step of opening his reelection coffers the same day he took the oath of office in 2017, recently reported holding more than $83 million for his next race. Trump has raised a total of $165 million so far. Plus, he’s helped haul in millions more for the Republican National Committee, which will help all GOP candidates get the vote out, while outside organizations allied with the president have amassed their own big bundles of political money.

Facebook posts biggest quarterly lobby tab, as business, health interests dominate K Street
Impeachment is not slowing down lobbying efforts

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in 2018. Facebook spent a record amount on lobbying this year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Facebook is on pace to spend more on federal lobbying this year than ever before, according to public disclosures out this week, as the social media giant’s CEO prepares to testify Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

The company — at the center of debates over the spread of false information, data privacy and others — spent $12.3 million to lobby the federal government in the first nine months of the year. In 2018, Facebook shelled out $12.6 million for 12 months of lobbying.

Term limit rules targeted by Trump aren’t tipping scale on House GOP retirements
POTUS wants to discourage retirements, but life in the minority is also a factor

President Trump blamed the wave of retirements on a GOP conference rule that term limits committee chairmen. Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, is one member who said losing his top committee spot impacted his choice to not seek reelection. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump has an idea he thinks would quell the growing list of House Republicans who say they won’t run for another term, but the president’s proposal might not get to the root of the GOP retirements.

In a tweet early Monday, Trump urged House GOP leaders to alter conference rules to allow committee chairs (and ranking members if in the minority) to hold their posts for more than six years.

Retiring lawmakers will face tough market on K Street
‘K Street is not hungering for former members,’ senator-turned-lobbyist Norm Coleman says

In most cases, it’s congressional staff members who K Street really clamors for. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

K Street recruiters are poring over the list of 21, and counting, lawmakers planning to exit Congress, but the lobbying sector may offer a shrinking supply of big-money gigs heading into the 2020 elections. 

As more House members and senators consider making their escape from Capitol Hill, the realities of the K Street economy and the well-worn revolving door will be among their considerations, say insiders at lobbying firms and downtown headhunters.

Amazon, Facebook up their K Street spending; other players dip

Facebook spent the most in its history on lobbying in this year’s second quarter. Above, CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies at a House hearing in April of last year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Tech powerhouses Facebook and Amazon spent the most in their histories on lobbying in this year’s second quarter, propelling them into the top tier of K Street spenders, while other big players reported a decline in their lobbying investment.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, long the dominant big spender, continued its reign, despite recent turmoil in staffing and a leadership change that has raised questions about the organization’s future. The chamber, drug industry group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association and Northrop Grumman reported a dip in spending in the second quarter when compared with the first three months of the year, according to just filed lobbying reports.

They left Congress. Where are they now?
Ex-members are ‘recovering,’ ‘diving back into reality-land’ after 115th Congress

(Composite by Chris Hale/CQ Roll Call)

Ryan A. Costello, a 42-year-old Pennsylvania Republican who retired after the 115th Congress following a court-ordered redistricting that made reelection difficult, does “a lot of Legos” now with his two children, ages 2 and 5.

Luis V. Gutiérrez, an Illinois Democrat who stepped down after 13 terms, is learning to swim and play the guitar, and hopes to be able to perform a Beatles song by Christmas.

Artificial intelligence is coming. Will Congress be ready?

Lawmakers still grappling with the downsides of the internet and social media era, such as loss of privacy, criminal hacking and data breaches, are now trying to balance the promises and perils of artificial intelligence. (iStock)

It can help trace missing children, but misidentifies people of color. It can help detect cancer, but may recommend the wrong cure. It can help track criminals, but could aid foreign enemies in targeting voters. It can improve efficiency, but perpetuate long-standing biases.

The “it” is artificial intelligence, a technology that teaches machines to recognize complex patterns and make decisions based on them, much like humans do. While the promised benefits of the technology are profound, the downsides could be damaging, even dangerous.

Who is Rep. Chip Roy?
Texas freshman who blocked disaster bill is a top Democratic target in 2020

Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, and White House counselor Kellyanne Conway talk in the House chamber on Feb. 5 before President Donald Trump delivered his State of the Union address. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 6:03 p.m. | Rep. Chip Roy’s decision to stall a disaster aid bill Friday is bringing new attention to the conservative freshman whom Democrats are looking to unseat in 2020. 

The Texas Republican blocked a request to pass the $19.1 billion package by unanimous consent, raising concerns that the funds were not offset and that the package lacked money to process migrants at the southern border. 

Ex-Sen. Joe Donnelly Goes to K Street’s Akin Gump

Former Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., is heading to Akin Gump. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Former Sen. Joe Donnelly, the Indiana Democrat who lost his re-election bid in November, is the latest ex-lawmaker to land on K Street.

He will join the lobbying and law firm Akin Gump as a partner on April 1, and no that’s not an April Fool’s joke, the firm’s spokesman confirmed.

Joe Crowley, Bill Shuster decamp to K Street
Former members setting up at Squire Patton Boggs

Former Reps. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., seen here, and Bill Shuster, R-Pa., are joining promiment K Street firm Squire Patton Boggs. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Ex-Reps. Joseph Crowley, the New York Democrat who lost his primary race to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Republican Bill Shuster, who retired after the 115th Congress, are setting up shop on K Street.

The bipartisan duo is joining the global public policy practice at lobbying and law firm Squire Patton Boggs — home of other former lawmakers including House Speaker John A. Boehner and Sens. Trent Lott and John Breaux. The firm also had a now-severed strategic affiliation with Michael Cohen, the former attorney to President Donald Trump, who has since pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations.