Sean McMinn

Democratic Staff of Most Powerful Senate Committees Have the Least Racial Diversity
But Senate Republicans have not published their own statistics

The Senate committees with the whitest Democratic staffs are also some of the chamber’s most powerful.

Appropriations, Finance and Armed Services are three of the four least diverse, according to a Roll Call analysis of data released by Senate Democrats. Just 5 percent, 6 percent and 13 percent of their staffs are non-Caucasian, respectively.

Reporter's Notebook: Democratic Senators Seeking Re-Election Have Less Diverse Staffs
 

Roll Call data reporter Sean McMinn looks at the numbers released by Senate Democrats on the racial breakdown of their staffs.

Vulnerable Senate Democrats Have Another Thing to Worry About: Diversity on Their Staffs
Conference voluntarily released data on its diversity statistics for the second year

Democratic senators gearing up for competitive re-elections tend to have whiter staffs, according to a Roll Call analysis of data released by Senate Democrats.

Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, who finds himself in a race rated Tilts Democratic by Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales, has a staff that is 93 percent white. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III, also in a Tilts Democratic contest, was just behind him, at 92 percent.

House Experience Poised to Nose-Dive
Following a rash of retirements, incumbent losses in November could bring the body’s experience to a low not seen since the 1990s

If this election year ushers in as big a wave as Democrats are hoping for, it could end not just with a new party in control of the House, but with a major brain drain in the chamber. Departing members take with them their institutional knowledge and experienced staff. The freshmen who replace them will not only be starting from scratch, but, like Tea Party members did in 2010, could arrive by virtue of an antagonistic attitude and may be reluctant to back established party leadership.

The 69 representatives who for one reason or another won’t be a part of the House membership next year represent a significant portion of the House’s cumulative experience, a combined 828 years of experience in the chamber — roughly a fifth of the House’s total at the time this Congress began. 

How to Make Congressional Floor Charts Worth Reading
 

Data reporter Sean McMinn loves charts, including the charts seen on C-SPAN from the congressional chamber’s floors. But on International Chart Day, he has a message for lawmakers and their staffs: you can do better. Here are a few simple rules for decluttering floor charts for ease of reading and understanding....
Lobbying Hits $3.9 Billion in Trump’s First Year
But number of disclosure reports falls short of President Barack Obama’s inaugural year in office

Lobbyists reported an uptick in tax and other federal policy work during the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency, but the money spent to influence the federal government still didn’t surpass the inaugural year of the Obama administration, a Roll Call review of new disclosure reports found.

The number of federal disclosure reports that lobbyists filed last year — 50,000 — fell short of the 58,000 reports filed during 2009, President Barack Obama’s first year in office. Despite the fewer reports last year, companies and trade organizations spent roughly the same amount of money to influence Congress and the executive branch — $3.9 billion — in both years.

There Are Just Hours Left Before a Government Shutdown. This Is Totally Normal.
Since the last government shutdown, last-minute spending bills are standard operating procedure

On the day that government funding is set to expire, confusion has gripped the Capitol as the House-passed continuing resolution faces long odds in the Senate. If lawmakers pull out a fix to keep the lights on past midnight, it will most certainly be with only hours remaining before a deadline.

This is completely normal.

Trump Used Twitter to Praise and Blame Congress, Yet the Hill Agreed With Him Most of the Time
Roll Call measured the sentiment of Trump's tweets, and Congress' presidential support score

President Donald Trump came into office with two chambers of Congress controlled by his own party. So it’s not surprising he got his way on almost all the votes he took a position on — a fairly typical barometer of a president’s legislative success.

But there’s another metric we can use almost exclusively for this president to measure his relationship with Congress: his Twitter account.

Visual Report: Jones Won the Overall Funding Fight in Alabama
Democrat raised more than double his GOP opponent, Moore

Democratic candidate Doug Jones raised a total of $11.5 million in the Senate special election through Nov. 22, while Republican Roy Moore totaled $5.2 million. Donors from outside the state funneled millions of dollars into the election, going mostly to Jones.

Jones Bested Moore in Alabama Fundraising Under National Spotlight
But both received majority of large-dollar donations from out of state

Alabama Democrat Doug Jones received almost a quarter of his $3.2 million itemized donations from within the state between Oct. 1 and Nov. 22, according to records newly released by the Federal Election Commission.

That’s more than the Senate candidate’s opponent, Republican Roy Moore, who netted 20 percent of his $861,000 itemized contributions from within the state during the same period of time. 

Moore Relied Heavily On Fundraising Outside Alabama During Final Campaign Stretch
Most large-dollar donations were from outside state in October and November

The Republican candidate for Alabama’s Senate seat, Roy Moore, raised three times more in big-dollar donations from donors outside his state than from those within Alabama, according to newly released Federal Election Commission data that covers Oct. 1 through Nov. 22

Moore, the former chief judge of the Alabama Supreme Court, raised nearly $680,000 in itemized donations from outside of Alabama during that time, and only $172,000 from donations within the state.

Congress’ Compliance Watchdog: Settlement Payouts Highest in 10 Years
OOC handles harassment, discrimination and other workplace complaints

BY ANDREW MENEZES AND SEAN MCMINN

Fact-Checking Trump’s Claim on U.S. Attacking ISIS ‘Much Harder’
As the terrorist group loses ground, there are fewer targets to attack

U.S. and coalition strikes against the Islamic State terrorist group have fallen dramatically in the last month, despite President Donald Trump’s assertion last week that the military had hit the group “much harder” in response to a terrorist attack in New York City.

On Nov. 1 and 2, the days on which Trump said the military had stepped up attacks against ISIS, coalition forces launched 24 strikes in Iraq and Syria. That is less than half the two-day strike average for coalition forces since March 31, according to a Roll Call analysis of Defense Department news releases.

The Status of Guns in the U.S. — in 3 Charts
At least 58 killed in Sunday’s Las Vegas shooting

A gunman began firing on Sunday in Las Vegas on a country music festival. At publication time, at least 58 people were dead and over 500 were estimated to be injured in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Here’s a series of charts depicting the status of guns in America:

Strange First Appointed Senator to Lose Primary in Two Decades
Appointed senators have a track record of short tenures

Sandwiched between two of the most recognizable senators in Kansas history was a former lieutenant governor who served in the chamber for only five months.

The state’s governor chose Republican Sheila Frahm to take over Sen. Bob Dole’s seat in 1996 when he resigned to run for president. Frahm promptly lost a party primary to her successor, Sen. Sam Brownback, and her time in the national spotlight was over.

House Challengers Find Fundraising Success Outside Their Districts
Eleven Democrats have raised nearly all their money from other parts of their states — and beyond

Democrats are energized. They’re running for Congress. And they’re raising money — lots of it.

And for nearly a dozen Democratic challengers who have raised at least $50,000 in individual contributions worth at least $200 each during the first half of this year, more than 90 percent of the money raised came from outside their districts, a Roll Call review of Federal Election Commission data found.

How the Health Care Industry Has Been Giving to Congress
FEC reports show millions of dollars spent already this year

BY SEAN MCMINN AND RYAN KELLY

As health care came to the forefront this year in Washington, groups focused on the issue continued using their political action committees to attempt to influence the debate.

What 10 Hours of House Amendment Votes Look Like
How the ‘minibus’ process unfolded on the floor Wednesday and Thursday

The House on Thursday passed a nearly $790 billion security-themed, four-title spending package, marking the first set of must-pass appropriations measures to be cleared on either chamber floor this year.

But before they could take the final vote on the so-called minibus, House rules — which are agreed to in committee — set debate parameters that allowed for votes on amendments to the bill. Lots of amendments.

Democratic House Freshmen Show Fundraising Edge Over GOP Classmates
First-term Democrats outraise Republicans in first and second quarters

Corrected at 5:28 p.m. on July 24 | Republicans may hold the House majority, but that doesn’t give them every advantage.

With their first two fundraising deadlines behind them, Democratic newbies in the chamber are demonstrating their ability to out fundraise their Republican colleagues.

Congress Is Working More Than Average This Year: Three Days a Week
The last time lawmakers worked close to this many days was 2009

Republicans may be uneasy about the lack of productivity so far this Congress, but it’s not for a lack of time spent working.

Through the first half of 2017, the 115th Congress had more voting days than any previous Congress in the same time period, since at least 2009, a Roll Call review of CQ vote data found. The House held floor votes on 75 days and the Senate on 77 days. That means the chambers voted, on average, about three out of every seven days.