New Mexico

A Huge Congressional Settlement Involving Sexual Harassment — And Hardly Anyone Knew
Lawmakers on Helsinki Commission blindsided by report of $220K payout

Florida Rep. Alcee L. Hastings has denied allegations of sexual misconduct that led to a $220,000 payment to a former congressional staffer. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The $220,000 paid to former staffer Winsome Packer in 2014 is by far the largest known settlement involving Congress and accusations of sexual harassment in recent years.

But few, if any, of the lawmakers who served on the congressional commission where Packer worked seem to have been informed about it until the sum was reported by Roll Call on Friday.  

Transgender Woman Said Lujan Grisham’s Office Discriminated Against Her
Says she was fired from her internship when it was learned she was transgender

A former intern said Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., fired her for being transgender. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A former intern said she was fired from New Mexico Democratic Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office for being transgender.

Riley Del Rey told the Santa Fe New Mexican she was fired from the Democrat’s office almost three years ago and is speaking now because she has seen a number of stories about sexual harassment but transgender voices are missing.

Photos of the Week: Three Resignations, a CR Extension and the Holidays Kick Off
The week of Dec. 4 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Ranking member Rep. Jerrold Nadler arrives Thursday for the House Judiciary Committee hearing on oversight of the FBI. Nadler became the top Democrat on the panel following Michigan Rep. John Conyers Jr.’s resignation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated at 10:08 a.m.The week on the Hill was not short on news. Michigan Rep. John Conyers Jr. resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct while Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, a fellow Democrat, announced he intended to do the same soon. Late Thursday, Republican Trent Franks from Arizona said he would resign effective Jan. 31 over sexual harassment allegations in his office.

At the same time, the funding deadline to keep the government open loomed. But a government shutdown was averted Thursday — at least for another two weeks — when both chambers passed a continuing resolution through Dec. 22. 

Nancy Pelosi Joins DCCC Chairman in Calling on Ruben Kihuen to Resign
Former finance director alleges Kihuen assaulted her during 2016 campaign

The House Democratic leader is calling on freshman Democrat Ruben Kihuen to resign in the face of sexual harassment allegations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated Dec. 2, 12:15 a.m. | House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has joined in the calls for Nevada Rep. Ruben Kihuen to resign.

The statement from the California Democrat comes in response to allegations that Kihuen sexually harassed his finance director on the campaign trail last year.

Lujan Grisham: Expect to See Republicans Demand DACA Fix
Hispanic Caucus leader says she is not interested in temporary solution

Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., told reporters to expect Republicans to come forward demanding a DACA fix. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus said Thursday she expects Republicans to come forward to demand a fix to protect undocumented immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. when they were children.

Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a New Mexico Democrat, said she expects to see a letter released later Thursday with about 25 to 50 Republicans calling on Speaker Paul D. Ryan to give them a chance to support a fix to the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which offered deportation relief and work permits to some 800,000 childhood immigrants.

Sen. Al Franken Accused of Sexual Misconduct
‘He mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth’

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken is facing allegations of sexual misconduct. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

UPDATED 11/16/17 2:04 p.m. | A Los Angeles radio news anchor accused Sen. Al Franken of groping and kissing her without consent in an open letter Thursday on the radio station’s website.

Leeann Tweeden, a 790 KABC morning host, wrote that she was on a 2006 USO tour with the Minnesota Democrat, and the former Saturday Night Live cast member had written material for a joint sketch that involved a kiss. Franken insisted on rehearsing, she said.

DCCC Adds 11 GOP Targets, including Paul Ryan
Democrats are now targeting 91 Republican districts in 2018

New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has added 11 more Republicans to its 2018 target list, including Speaker Paul D. Ryan.

The DCCC now has its sights on 91 GOP seats next year. Twenty-three are districts that Democrat Hillary Clinton carried last year, while 68 voted for President Donald Trump. The new targets were first reported by The Washington Post.

After Texas Shooting, Bipartisan Bill Aims to Close Gun ‘Loophole’
Flake: Since 2007 only a single instance military reporting domestic violence charge

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A bipartisan Senate duo introduced legislation Tuesday that would ban individuals convicted of domestic violence from legally buying a gun.

The bill, from Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., would apply to convictions from both military and civilian courts. It would aim to correct what the lawmakers say is a loophole that allows those convicted of domestic violence by a military court to still purchase firearms. Such individuals, by law, are currently barred from buying guns.

Members Face Tough Odds in Races for Governor
Competitive primary, general elections await nine representatives running

Hawaii Rep. Colleen Hanabusa would be a heavy favorite to win her state’s governor’s race if she gets past the Democratic primary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There’s been plenty of media attention on the twelve members who have decided to call it quits and retire from the House, and another eight members are seeking a promotion to the Senate. But nine additional members are forgoing likely re-elections for uncertain and challenging races to become their state’s governor.

Many of them have to navigate crowded and competitive primaries (including knocking off an incumbent in one state), and the precedent for members getting elected governor isn’t great.

For the Love of Literature: Durbin Has Formed Relationships Over Books
The Senate’s go-to bookworm has countless reading buddies

Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., has a book in there somewhere. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A Georgetown student and bookworm named Dick Durbin worked at Discount Books and Records in Dupont Circle in the mid-1960s. 

The store is gone now, but that same bookworm is still handing out books — now to senators, presidents and Supreme Court justices.