outside groups

Charlie Palmer Steak, Men’s Wearhouse – When PACs Pick Up Lawmaker Tabs
Report: Congress members and Candidates spend megabucks in predictable places

Charlie Palmer’s, a white-tablecloth steakhouse steps from the Senate office building, was the favorite D.C. dining destination for politicians using money from leadership PACs, according to a watchdog report. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Want to know how to live like a Washington insider? You could do worse than peruse the latest report on improper spending in Congress. 

One takeaway: From dining to hotels to shopping, D.C. politicians do not opt for adventure, at least when someone else is paying the tab. 

Democratic Challenger Calls Higgins ‘Barney Fife of Washington’
Graves challenger says he would be first openly gay candidate to run for the House from Louisiana

Rep. Clay Higgins, R-La., was compared to Barney Fife by a Democratic challenger. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A Democratic challenger to Louisiana Rep. Clay Higgins called the tough-talking former sheriff a Republican “Barney Fife.”

Speaking on the first day of election qualifying in Baton Rouge, Mimi Methvin, an attorney from Lafayette, said Higgins portrays himself as a John Wayne-style figure, “But he's been more like Barney Fife doing the bidding of the GOP hierarchy.”

Bill Meant to Clear Public Access to Congressional Reports Running Out of Time
Measure would require online portal for congressionally mandated reports

Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., sponsored a bill to create a single online portal for reports federal agencies submit to Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A bill meant to clear the way for public access to reports submitted to Congress is in danger of hitting a roadblock, government transparency advocates warned Thursday. 

The bipartisan Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act was approved without objection by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Administration Committee in February and April, clearing the way for consideration on the House floor. 

Trump Claims Credit for Roby GOP Primary Win
His endorsement opened ‘flood gates’ of support, Trump says

Alabama GOP Rep. Martha Roby easily won her GOP primary runoff on Tuesday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Eager for a win after his controversial summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump on Wednesday took credit for an incumbent Republican’s primary victory.

Alabama Rep. Martha Roby easily won her Republican primary runoff Tuesday evening by 36 percentage points.

Democrats Keep Raking In the Cash After Costly Primaries
Challengers in key races have on average twice as much money in the bank

California Democrat Katie Porter reported a significant boost in her cash on hand since the pre-primary reporting period in her race against GOP Rep. Mimi Walters. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The surge in Democratic candidates running for the House raised a critical question at the start of the cycle: Would crowded and costly primaries weaken the eventual nominees by draining their campaign cash? So far the answer appears to be “no.”

On average, Democrats in competitive races who faced expensive primaries have more than doubled their cash on hand from shortly before their primary elections to the end of the most recent fundraising quarter, campaign finance reports show. 

Martha Roby Survives GOP Primary Runoff in Alabama
Onetime Trump critic defeated ex-Democrat Bobby Bright

Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., fended off a primary challenge from party-switching former Rep. Bobby Bright, whom she defeated in 2010. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Alabama Rep. Martha Roby survived her Republican primary runoff Tuesday night, rebounding from her sharp criticism of President Donald Trump in 2016 that sparked several challenges this year. 

Roby won 68 percent of the vote compared to 32 percent for party-switching former Rep. Bobby Bright, according to The Associated Press’ vote count in the 2nd District race. 

The President’s Mission to Mars Is a Real Long Shot
Trump really wants to go to Mars, but he’ll have to convince Congress, private companies and scores of scientists

President Donald Trump receives a flight jacket from NASA officials during a bill signing ceremony last year. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

For a man known for grandiose ambitions, perhaps President Donald Trump’s most lofty is his pledge, formalized in a December order, to land a human being on the surface of Mars.

It would be easy to doubt Trump’s seriousness, given that he’s equally known for inconsistent follow-through. But Trump has raised the idea repeatedly since that order, most recently last month before the National Space Council, the advisory group Trump revived last year and tasked Vice President Mike Pence with running.

O’Rourke More Than Doubles Cruz’s Fundraising in Second Quarter
Democrat challenger raised $10.4 million compared to incumbent’s $4 million

Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, announced he raised $10.4 million in the most recent fundraising quarter. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Ted Cruz’s Democratic challenger Rep. Beto O’Rourke raised more than double the amount the Republican incumbent raised in the second quarter of 2018.

O’Rourke’s campaign announced he raised $10.4 million in the most recent fundraising quarter from 215,714 individual contributions. 

GOP Senate Candidate Returns Contributions From Conservative PAC
FEC has questions for Club for Conservatives PAC

The Federal Election Commission sent a letter to Club for Conservatives PAC last month with questions about its previously filed reports. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

Rep. Marsha Blackburn is locked in a competitive and expensive race for Senate. But the Tennessee Republican’s campaign decided to return a sizable contribution from a political action committee that’s facing scrutiny from campaign finance regulators.

“Club for Conservatives PAC did not meet our standards for transparency,” Blackburn campaign spokeswoman Abbi Sigler said. 

Kavanaugh Confirmation Fight Promises to Be Intense — and Expensive
Outside advocacy groups on both sides are already coming out swinging

President Donald Trump nominates Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy at an announcement ceremony in the White House on Monday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Outside advocacy groups began making hefty down payments overnight in the multimillion-dollar fight over President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, but the cash is unlikely to determine the fate of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

The fierce fundraising appeals and grass-roots mobilization from both sides, including advertising buys in pivotal states, show the high stakes as senators prepare to weigh the potential successor to retiring Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.