Lobbying

Crisis Averted but Future Is Still Unclear for House Watchdog
Republicans promise bipartisan review of Office of Congressional Ethics

Massachusetts Rep. Michael Capuano, who chaired the committee that recommended the creation of the Office of Congressional Ethics, says he would welcome looking at potential revisions to the office. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republicans might have ditched a plan to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics. But the future of Congress’ only outside ethics review board is far from guaranteed.

The Office of Congressional Ethics, or OCE, has been under fire from both parties since it was created eight years ago. Now the House GOP majority is promising to revisit a potential overhaul before the end of this session, possibly as early as August.

Democrats, Donors Turn Focus to State Legislative Races
Republicans say their foes have tried before but still came up short

Former Attorney General Eric Holder’s National Democratic Redistricting Committee, which is backed by President Obama, will focus prominently on state legislative races. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate map is chock-full of deep red states, the House map skews Republican, and the presidential race doesn’t start for at least two more years. 

If Democrats and their donors want to find ways to win in 2018, they might need to refocus down the ballot — way down the ballot.

Ryan Calls Trump Lobbying Ban Proposal ’Dangerous’
Speaker says ’unseen circumstances’ come with lengthening the current ban

Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., does not support extending the current lobbying ban on members of Congress, which is part of President-elect Donald Trump’s ethics overhaul plan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Thursday that a proposal to extend the one-year lobbying ban for retired members of Congress to five years — part of President-elect Donald Trump’s series of ethics reforms — is “dangerous.” 

The Wisconsin Republican said during a CNN town hall that he agrees with the intent of preventing members of Congress from leaving the institution and immediately going into the private sector just to get rich. However, he noted there are other “unseen circumstances” that come with the lobbying ban. 

D’Amato Apologizes After Airline Incident
‘It was a total overreaction, probably on both parts,’ former senator says

Former Sen. Al D’Amato apologized for an incident on a JetBlue airliner in Florida on Monday night. (Jemal Countess/Getty Images file photo)

Two days after he was escorted from a JetBlue airliner, former Sen. Alfonse D’Amato said the incident was an “overreaction” on both sides.

The New York Republican tried to incite passengers to protest after sitting on a Fort Lauderdale to New York flight at the gate for five hours Monday night.

For 20, a New Year’s Boost in House Legislative Sway
How the winners of top committee assignments made their own luck

Keep an eye peeled for these House members with plum new committee assignments, from left to right, first row: Pete Aguilar, Earl L. “Buddy” Carter, Katherine M. Clark, Ryan A. Costello, Carlos Curbelo; second row: Suzan DelBene, Debbie Dingell, Brian Higgins, John Moolenaar, Grace Meng; third row: Dan Newhouse, Scott Peters, Mark Pocan, Raul Ruiz, David Schweikert; fourth row: Terri A. Sewell, Scott Taylor, Tim Walberg, Jackie Walorski and Mimi Walters. (Bill Clark, Meredith Dake-O’Connor and Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photos. Scott Taylor courtesy Scott Taylor for U.S. Congress)

Specialization seasoned with seniority is the surest recipe for a meaningful legislative career in the House, which is more than big enough to swallow all the dilettantes and short-timers without a trace. It’s finding a substantive niche, then fitting in over the long haul, that proves perennially frustrating for many members. 

But the goal of becoming a successful and substantive lawmaker just got a whole lot easier for a score of them.

House Republicans Entrust Majority to Rogers at NRCC
New York native begins fourth cycle at committee, but first as executive director

John Rogers was part of the National Republican Congressional Committee team that limited the party’s losses in the House to a net of just six seats in last year’s election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Midterm elections are supposed to be trouble for the president’s party, but House Republicans are confident that if they have a problem, John Rogers can solve it.

Rogers was born in Amsterdam, New York, a small-town about a half-hour west of Albany, but Republican friends know him best for once identifying an unlikely takeover opportunity three hours south in New York City.

Word on the Hill: How to Get Your Photo Taken With the President
115th Congress sees increase in Jesuit-educated lawmakers

From left, President Barack Obama, Florida Rep. Frederica S. Wilson, New York Rep. Joseph Crowley, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi arrive at the Capitol Visitor Center on Wednesday for a meeting of House and Senate Democrats. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Florida Democratic Rep. Frederica S. Wilson knew what to do when she saw an opportunity to take a photograph with President Barack Obama on his way to a meeting with House and Senate Democrats on Wednesday.

In the Capitol Visitor Center, Roll Call photographer Bill Clark caught her waiting for Obama to come down the hallway.

Is There Space for a Republican EMILY’s List?
Litmus tests might not work the same way on the right

Alabama’s Martha Roby is one of only 26 Republican women in Congress. Some party members wonder if they need their own version of EMILY’s List to increase that number. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As recently as the second Reagan administration, Republicans had more women in Congress than Democrats. Then EMILY’s List took hold.

The political action committee, founded in 1984, dedicated itself to electing Democratic women who support abortion rights, becoming an influential force in primaries even when it clashed with the wishes of party leaders. Now, of the 104 women in the 115th Congress, 75 percent are Democrats.

Amid Blowback, Republicans Strip Ethics Office Change From House Rules
Progressive groups join with some conservatives to oppose overhaul of OCE

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., conducts a news conference after a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol, September 21, 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

By Rema Rahman and Simone Pathé

House Republicans on Tuesday quickly reversed their position on a provision in a House Rules package that would have significantly changed how the independent Office of Congressional Ethics investigates members of Congress. 

Donald Trump and the Russian Connection
Members of president-elect’s inner circle with alleged ties to Russia

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, at podium, and President-elect Donald Trump, left, at campaign event in September. Flynn, Trump’s pick to be national security adviser, has been criticized for his paid speaking engagements for RT, the Kremlin’s propaganda channel. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Donald Trump’s inner circle is studded with links to Russia — from a potential secretary of State who received a medal from Vladimir Putin to a campaign adviser who worked for Russian-backed Ukrainian politicians.

Those connections, combined with Trump’s own expressions of admiration for Putin, have fueled speculation that a Trump administration would forge an unprecedented alliance with the Russian government. Some critics have warned that the president-elect’s stance toward Russia could be swayed in part by the business interests of his advisers.