Paul Fontelo

Hill staffers worried about expenses turn to student loan benefit
Repayment program helps staffers keep costs down and remain on Hill

Kendra Horn was a recent law school graduate in 2004 when she took a job as press secretary to fellow Oklahoma Democrat Brad Carson. Fourteen years before her own election to the House, she made the move from Oklahoma to Washington and almost immediately felt the pressures of a tight budget.

With a pile of student loans and a low starting salary, she tried to keep her expenses to a minimum. She kept her food costs low, scoping out the cheaper places to eat, and paid for groceries on her credit card. But with all of her budgeting, she wasn’t making enough to make payments on her student loans.

For Jim Hagedorn, being staffer in the minority was formative time
Freshman congressman worked for a Minnesota Republican, and was son to another

Richard Neal Facebook page mixes campaign, congressional business

Updated August 28, 2:22 p.m. | House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal used his government-funded official Facebook page to air campaign advertisements, Facebook Ad Library shows, potentially running afoul of House Ethics rules that prohibit campaign business on House official resources.

In Neal’s official Facebook page disclaimer, up to $100 were spent on the ads in 2018 paid for by “Richard Neal for Congress Committee, Treasurer Michael F. Hall,” suggesting Neal’s campaign funds paid for the ad to air through the House office’s Facebook page.

Live in the ‘here and now,’ even in traffic court, says Rep. Ben Cline
The Virginia Republican has some advice for recent grads

If you want to get your foot in the door on the Hill, go to your alumni network. That’s one of Ben Cline’s biggest takeaways from his early days as a staffer.

Cline, now a congressman himself, started out as a legislative correspondent for Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte. He met the Virginia Republican by volunteering at their mutual alma mater, Bates College.

These senators running for president made $7.1 million writing books
Disclosures show extracurricular activities pay off for some candidates

Wealth of Candidates: A dive into CQ Roll Call’s Wealth of Congress data to illustrate the finances of some of the Democrats running for president.

Writing a book is a good way for politicians to get their message out to voters and promote their biographies, core values and platforms.

Congressman TJ Cox talks Filipino food, heritage and why he decided to run
At the Table

As Asian Pacific American Heritage Month comes to a close, we sat down with Rep. TJ Cox and a helping of assorted Filipino dishes at Kaliwa, a restaurant in D.C's Wharf area.

Members of Congress are rich with student debt
Reauthorization of Higher Education Act could affect repayment, affordability

As lawmakers look to reshape the federal loan process in the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, a cohort knows firsthand the pain of rising college costs — 68 members, or 13 percent of Congress, reported that either they or their family members are mired in student debt.

Collectively, the 44 Democrats and 24 Republicans have higher education liabilities of $2.5 million, according to recent financial disclosures. The median student loan debt is $15,000, while average debt is $37,000.

Congress Cashes Out as Rich Members Depart
Of the top 10 flushest lawmakers, four are packing their bags

The combined wealth of Congress is set to plummet next year after a deluge of departures and the results of the midterm elections. Some of the wealthiest lawmakers on Capitol Hill won’t be returning next year, and the body’s $2.43 billion of personal net worth will drop by $933 million. 

Of the top 10 richest members of Congress, four are packing their bags. Most are staying in the public sector. California Rep. Darrell Issa, net worth of $283 million and the perennially richest member of Congress, announced his retirement in January 2018. The inventor of the Viper car alarm was expected to leave public office but will move to the Trump administration, after being appointed to the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.

9 New Members Who Previously Served at the Pleasure of a President
Newcomers to 116th Congress bring bevy of executive branch experience

A group of newcomers to Capitol Hill is bringing experience from the executive branch to the 116th Congress. 

They draw from a cast of former White House or Cabinet staffers and high-ranking officials from the administrations of the past two Democratic presidents. These new members, who once had to defend their administration’s policies, now find themselves on the other side of the table, promising oversight of the executive branch. 

Facebook, Twitter Testify: Here Are the Lawmakers Who Own Their Stock
Members of Congress have invested more than $7M in three tech giants

The Senate will question representatives of tech giants Twitter and Facebook on Wednesday. The chamber’s Intelligence Committee also invited Alphabet CEO Larry Page but rejected the company’s counteroffer to send Google’s chief legal officer.

Roll Call found 32 members of Congress have stock ownership in the three companies. These stocks are held in trust funds, IRAs and brokerage accounts for the members, their spouses or their dependent children. In total, members of Congress have invested more than $7,000,000 in the three tech companies subject to scrutiny in Wednesday’s hearings.

Duncan Hunter is Using Campaign Funds to Defend Himself Against ... Misusing Campaign Funds
Hunter and wife alleged to have siphoned $250,000 from campaign coffers for personal use

Rep. Duncan Hunter’s legal defense is coming from the same campaign coffers he and his wife are accused of misusing, so far amounting to more than $600,000 for the lawyers.

Federal Election Commission filings show Hunter’s campaign made payments for “legal services” or “legal fees” to eight different law firms in excess of $600,000 during the 2018 election cycle. This includes disbursements of $182,000 to the San Diego-based law firm Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek, which is representing Hunter in the grand jury investigation. The five-term GOP incumbent and his wife were indicted for allegedly using $250,000 in campaign funds for personal use.

Snapshot: Chris Collins’ Finances Reviewed
Health technology and family ties a cornerstone in Collins’ wealth

New York Republican Rep. Chris Collins surrendered to the FBI on Wednesday over criminal insider trading charges.

A review of the three-term congressman’s financial disclosures shows the extent of his personal wealth. Collins ranked 13th among House and Senate colleagues in the most recent Roll Call Wealth of Congress index, a ranking of reported assets and liabilities. 

Other Politicians Held, Recently Sold Stock That Got Chris Collins Arrested
Tom Price, Doug Lamborn among those who hold or sold Innate Immunotherapeutics stock

At least six other politicians have recently owned or sold stock in Innate Immunotherapeutics, the Austrailian company at the center of New York Republican Rep. Chris Collins’ recent arrest.

In 2017, Tom Price sold between $250,001 and $500,000 of Innate Immunotherapeutics stock on one occasion and between $15,000 and $50,000 on another, according to the Office of Government Ethics.

15 Weeks That Changed America: How Roll Call Reported on the Watergate Hearings
Reporter’s Notebook: An executive summary of Roll Call’s biggest stories, from the reporters themselves

Forty-five years ago, the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities gaveled in, beginning a series of hearings that eventually led to the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon. Roll Call data reporters discuss their special report retelling the story of those hearings with previous coverage, video and audio straight from the Russell Building. View the full report here....
11 Almost, Probably, Most Likely Members of the 116th Congress
These candidates in open seats are all but assured of joining the next Congress

It’s spring in Washington, but for several candidates it may as well be fall. With six months left in their campaigns, these 11 candidates are already virtually assured of becoming new members in the 116th Congress — and the roster of such virtual freshmen could get three times bigger, or more, before Election Day.

Members of this unusual political class have the luxury of running for open seats in places where — thanks to demographics and past election results — locking down one party’s ballot line is tantamount to winning in November.

Three Members Who Could Question Zuckerberg Hold Facebook Shares
Social media exec faces questions about Cambridge Analytica scandal

Nearly 30 lawmakers hold stock in Facebook — including three who could soon be grilling its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, about a British company that usurped his firm’s data without user consent to possibly help steer elections.

Twenty-eight members listed stock in the social media giant, according to Roll Call’s Wealth of Congress project. Among them, Democratic Reps. Kurt Schrader of Oregon and Joseph P. Kennedy III of Massachusetts sit on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, while Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island sits on Senate Judiciary.

One-Tenth of Congress Lists Student Loan Liabilities
‘I don’t understand how young people can become teachers or work in the public service arena’

The 115th Congress scored as one of the richest ever, but one in 10 lawmakers still holds student loan debt, either personally or for a family member. 

Fifty-three members listed a combined $1.8 million in student loans on their financial disclosures. Twenty-eight of them posted a positive net worth while 25 showed negative net worth in Roll Call’s comprehensive Wealth of Congress project.

Every Member of Congress’ Wealth in One Chart
While the superrich hold more than half the wealth, nearly a quarter are in the red

While politics is no place to get rich, many people may assume that only the wealthy elite are able to get into the highest positions in power.

Though two-fifths of senators and representatives are millionaires, there are plenty with humbler backgrounds and more modest bank accounts. Almost a quarter of voting members have a negative net worth.

Maybe They’re Too Rich for Congress?
Seventeen members departing the Capitol are millionaires

The wealthy are heading for the exits.

So far, 44 current lawmakers, or one in 12, have announced they are retiring at the end of the year or seeking new offices away from the Capitol. And collectively, they now account for nearly a third of the $2.43 billion in cumulative riches of the 115th Congress.