Chris Cioffi

Sen. King calls out drugmakers suing to keep drug list prices out of TV ads
Drug pricing transparency is one area where Trump administration is imposing new regulations

Sen. Angus King called out drugmakers suing to prevent a Trump administration rule requiring them to include list prices in their TV ads.

Drug manufacturers Amgen, Merck and Eli Lilly teamed up with the Association of National Advertisers to challenge the rule making drugmakers put list prices in ads. The suit was filed Friday in federal court against the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Sponsor drops baseball team over video calling AOC ‘enemy of freedom’
Raisin company Sun-Maid cuts ties with the Fresno Grizzlies after an unvetted Memorial Day video sparks controversy

Raisin company Sun-Maid cut ties with a minor league baseball team after it played a video at its Memorial Day game drawing comparisons between Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and controversial figures including despots Fidel Castro and Kim Jong Un.

The company has been a part of the San Joaquin Valley for many years, where the Fresno Grizzlies play, but on Wednesday Sun-Maid issued a statement saying it was “disappointed” and terminating sponsorship of the team, the Fresno Bee reported.

These 8 Republicans voted for the Equality Act
3 House Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination did not vote

Eight House Republicans voted Friday with their Democratic counterparts for the Equality Act, which would broaden the definition of protected classes to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

The bill, a Democratic priority, passed 236-173 amid passionate speeches from both Republicans and Democrats. Debate over the bill was partisan, and at times, tense. 

Grasswho? Members raised hundreds of thousands, almost none from small donors
Democrats tout small-dollar contributions as grassroots support, but several raised less than $400 that way

Democrats have long touted the importance of raising small amounts of money from a large number of donors as a sign of political strength on the campaign trail and in Congress.

But recent campaign finance disclosures show some lawmakers — from both parties — raised next to no money from so-called small donors in the first three months of 2019 for their campaign accounts. The names of contributors giving less than $200 in the aggregate do not have to be included in reports to the Federal Election Commission, but the total received from all those “unitemized” contributions is disclosed.

Florida Bar moves forward on investigating Matt Gaetz over Cohen tweet
Congressman sent tweet that seemed to intimidate Trump’s former lawyer

The Florida Bar is moving forward with an investigation of Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz over a tweet that appeared to be an attempt to intimidate President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen.

Gaetz sent the tweet a day before Cohen testified at a House committee hearing against his old boss in February.

Ernest ‘Fritz’ Hollings, South Carolina senator and WWII veteran, has died
Longtime statesman known for his quick wit died Saturday at the age of 97

Ernest Frederick “Fritz” Hollings, a longtime statesman with a rumbling baritone known for a quick wit and as a champion of environmental and social policy, has died at the age of 97.

The South Carolina Democrat, who ran for president in 1984 and served in the Senate for nearly 40 years — most of his tenure as the junior senator to Republican Strom Thurmond — died Saturday after a period of failing health, The (Charleston) Post and Courier reported

Cherry blossoms in winter? Global warming could make it happen
Peak bloom — and cherry blossom gawking — coming earlier and earlier

Washington’s iconic white wreath of cherry trees surrounding the Tidal Basin has reached its fullest, following a trend of earlier and earlier blooms.

Despite some chilly days in March, the National Weather Service announced Monday that the trees were at peak bloom — meaning 70 percent of the Yoshino cherry trees were in blossom. Researchers found the average timing of peak bloom had shifted nearly a week since the trees were planted in 1912, and believe peak blooms could one day occur during the tail end of winter, not the beginning of spring.

Trump reverses Treasury sanctions on North Korea
President says he would go against his own department to rescind sanctions

President Donald Trump announced Friday he would go against the order of his own Treasury Department and remove additional sanctions imposed on North Korea. 

Trump, via Twitter, said he would not add to existing sanctions on the country, aimed at slowing its nuclear ambitions. The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control announced Thursday it would impose sanctions on two Chinese-based shipping companies that helped North Korea evade sanctions.

O’Rourke gets early backing from former colleagues in Congress
Texas Democrat hits the campaign trail at Keokuk, Iowa, coffee shop

Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke gave a speech and took questions from supporters for the first time as a presidential candidate on Thursday in Keokuk, Iowa.

The 46-year-old Democrat spoke to supporters at a coffee shop just hours after he announced that he is seeking the party’s presidential nomination. His White House bid brings the number of Democrats running for the party’s nomination to a baker’s dozen.

Democrats choose Milwaukee for 2020 national convention
Wisconsin is a perennial battleground state, which Hillary Clinton narrowly lost in 2016

Following the selection of Milwaukee, Martha Laning, chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, said the state party was “thrilled” for the “once-in-a-lifetime economic opportunity.” 

Trump claims Cohen ‘directly’ asked for a pardon
Trump’s claim will inevitably cause GOP lawmakers to press Democrats to look at whether Cohen again committed perjury

President Donald Trump on Friday contradicted his former fixer Michael Cohen by claiming his one-time attorney “directly” asked for a pardon.

Cohen, who is heading to prison for lying to Congress, told the House Oversight Committee this last week: “I have never asked for it, nor would I accept a pardon from President Trump.”

Founder of spa where Patriot’s owner was charged attended Trump’s Super Bowl party
The woman, Li Yang, is a Chinese entrepreneur who started a chain of South Florida day spas, the Miami Herald reports

President Donald Trump posed for a selfie during a Super Bowl party at his West Palm Beach country club with the woman who founded Orchids of Asia Day Spa — the massage parlor now at the center of a sex trafficking and prostitution investigation, a new Miami Herald report said Friday

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, a longtime friend of Trump, was charged with soliciting a prostitute at the strip mall massage parlor in Jupiter, Florida. 

Sen. Sherrod Brown says he isn’t running for president
Ohio Democrat says he will continue ‘calling out Donald Trump and his phony populism’

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown won’t be joining several of his Democratic Senate colleagues who are seeking the White House in 2020. 

“The best place for me to continue fighting for the people of Ohio and for the dignity of all workers across the country is in the U.S. Senate,” Brown said in a statement Thursday. “So, I will not run for President in 2020.”

Matt Gaetz under investigation by Florida Bar over Cohen tweet
Florida Republican says he has apologized to Cohen personally

The Florida Bar has opened an investigation into a tweet sent by Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz on Tuesday that appeared to be an attempt to intimidate President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen the day before he was to testify against his old boss.

The Florida Bar confirmed to Roll Call on Wednesday afternoon that it has begun investigating Gaetz’s tweet. It would not release any additional information, citing confidentiality rules.

Trump’s labor secretary broke federal law in sex offender plea deal, judge says
Alexander Acosta — then a U.S. attorney — violated federal law in Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking case

A plea agreement with financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein that Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta had a part in when he was a U.S.attorney  violated federal law, a judge ruled Thursday. 

Officials with Acosta’s office and the White House had not responded to requests for comment at the time this story was published. 

Sanders first to get non-home state congressional endorsement
Ro Khanna has expressed support for a Sanders presidential run since 2017

Bernie Sanders is the first 2020 candidate to pick up an endorsement from a member of Congress who is not from their home state.

Ro Khanna, D-Calif., announced Thursday that he is backing the Vermont independent to be the next president. The endorsement is not a surprising one — Khana tweeted in July of 2017 that Sanders should “absolutely run again in 2020!”

Trump says Mueller report release timing ‘totally’ up to Barr
The president was asked after CNN reported Wednesday Mueller’s report could be finalized next week

During a Wednesday meeting with his Austrian counterpart, President Donald J. Trump said the release of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report would be “totally” up to Attorney General William Barr.

The president was asked after CNN reported Wednesday that Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report could be finalized next week.  Trump said releasing it — perhaps while he is in Vietnam — would be “totally” up to Attorney General William Barr.

Trump makes Space Force official. There’s already a Netflix parody
The president also gets request from governor of ‘Space Coast’ to place Space Force HQ in his state

President Donald Trump made Space Force official, but that might have been hard to tell at first from Tuesday in the Oval Office, as the chief executive held court on several satellite issues. 

“During my administration, we’re doing so much in space. We need it,” Trump said, surrounded by military brass as he signed a directive establishing Space Force within the Air Force.

‘Never again,’ hundreds protest against second shutdown in Hart
American Federation of Government Employees held a silent protest Wednesday in the Hart Senate Office Building

A group of protesters that included labor leaders and worker advocates held a silent protest Wednesday to urge legislators against a second partial government shutdown. 

The protest, which attracted hundreds, was held in the Hart Senate Office Building. It was organized by the American Federation of Government Employees as part of its 2019 Legislative & Grassroots Mobilization Conference.

Dingell memorial services to be held in Michigan, Washington
A motorcade carrying his casket will pass the Capitol Tuesday, and a funeral will be held Thursday

Updated Sunday 6 p.m. |  John D. Dingell will drive past the U.S. Capitol one last time Tuesday as part of memorial services remembering the longest-serving member of Congress. 

Dingell died Thursday at age 92 in his home state of Michigan. Services will be held in Dearborn, Michigan, Monday and Tuesday before he returns to Washington.