Stephanie Akin

Unions Line Up Behind Republican Fitzpatrick in Pennsylvania House Race
Incumbent’s labor support complicates Democrats’ hopes of flipping seat

In a sign of trouble for Democrats’ hopes of flipping a Pennsylvania House seat, high-powered unions are pledging support for the Republican incumbent in the 1st District in suburban Philadelphia. 

Freshman Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick has raised more than $200,000 from labor groups, dwarfing the $3,000 collected by his Democratic opponent, multimillionaire philanthropist Scott Wallace, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported, attributing the numbers to OpenSecrets.org.

Lawrence Takes Trump’s Choice of Words Personally
‘I always think he’s hit rock bottom,’ Michigan congresswoman says of president calling Omarosa a ‘dog’

Democratic Rep. Brenda Lawrence  joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers who have condemned President Donald Trump’s attack on his former aide Omarosa Manigault Newman. 

“And I can tell him, ‘Shame on you, the fact that you are comfortable, on a national platform, to address a woman in that way. Shame on you,’” Lawrence said Wednesday night on CNN’s “Erin Burnett Out Front.”

Meghan McCain Calls McSally’s Snub of Her Father ‘Disgraceful’
McSally, like Trump, omitted mention of John McCain in remarks about bill named in his honor

Meghan McCain, the daughter of Sen. John McCain, lambasted Rep. Martha McSally on Wednesday for joining in the president’s snub of her father.

Like President Donald Trump, McSally omitted mention of the elder McCain when she touted her support for  the National Defense Authorization Act, named in John McCain’s honor. 

Liberals Spar over Trump’s ‘Hate Wall’ in House Primary Debate
Race between Pressley and Capuano has been tagged as the next potential Democratic Party shakeup

Boston city counselor Ayanna Pressley accused Rep. Michael Capuano on Wednesday of hewing too close to the right on issues including criminal justice, police protests and funding for a proposed border wall Wednesday in the final debate of one of Massachusetts’ most closely watched House primaries.

Both candidates are left-leaning liberals who have acknowledged that they often agree. But they have taken on more aggressive stances as the clock ticks down in a race that has attracted national attention as the next to potentially shake up the Democratic Party.

For Former Felons, Voting Rights Could Be a Click Away
Website aims to help millions of new voters register

Millions of new voters could register across the country, starting Tuesday, with the launch of an online tool meant to help former felons restore their right to vote.

The Campaign Legal Center’s website, restoreyourvote.org, attempts to guide users through a sometimes confusing jumble of state laws to determine whether past convictions or unpaid fines would keep them from the ballot box.

Trump’s Turkey Spat Could Rouse Army of Well-Paid, Connected Lobbyists
Turkey has spent millions to promote its interests in Washington

Whatever the result of President Donald Trump’s tariff fight with Turkey, it is almost certainly going to rouse a well-financed and deeply entrenched influence-peddling operation in Washington.

The Republic of Turkey spends hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on well-connected D.C. lobbyists to promote its interests in Washington. It makes major gifts to American think tanks that do not have to be reported under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Pot Business Expected to Boom, Lighting Up Pressure on Lawmakers
More that a dozen states expected to expand legalization by 2025, report says

With marijuana legalization measures expected to pass in 13 more states by 2025, the legal pot market would reach more than $30 billion, according to an industry report released Thursday. 

The trend is bound to increase pressure on lawmakers to stake positions on one of the country’s most rapidly evolving social issues — the legalization of pot and cannabis — according to the report from New Frontier Data, a nonpartisan market research firm. 

Chris Collins Joins Long List of Indicted Members of Congress
New York Republican intends to stay in office

Rep. Chris Collins' plans to keep his seat after his federal indictment Wednesday for insider trading puts him on a long list of members of Congress who have faced criminal charges while in office. 

In 2015, after  Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., was indicted for allegations of mishandling money, the Washington Post listed more than two dozen sitting members who had been indicted since 1980. 

Sorry Kanye, Black Voters Don’t Buy Celebrity Trump Endorsements
Poll: House votes in competitive districts could hinge on Trump’s racism

Kanye West and Dennis Rodman’s recent endorsements of Donald Trump have not impressed black voters in competitive districts whose deep dissatisfaction with the president could play a “key role” in the midterms, according to a poll released Tuesday.

The poll conducted for the NAACP by the African American Research Collaborative and Latino Decision is the latest to find that ethnic minorities associate Trump with racism, and that they are mobilized to vote against Republicans in November. That’s in spite of efforts by Trump and his supporters to enlist surrogates to rally support from the black community.

Trump’s Golf Game With Congress Still Stuck in a Sandtrap
Lindsey Graham, one of Trump’s few golf partners on the Hill, played a round with the President Sunday

President Trump on Sunday capitalized on the alignment of his reported two-week golf-club stay with the Senate’s abbreviated recess, making a rare announcement of a tee time with Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C.

But don’t count on too many more presidential swings at coalition building with influential lawmakers during his trip to Bedminster, New Jersey.  The White House keeps most records of Trump’s golf outings secret, but media reports indicate he has spent only a fraction of his golfing time with members of Congress.

Foreign Influence Peddlers Show Face in Wake of Manafort Woes
Foreign Agent registrations have spiked since former Trump aide indictment

It will be months before we know the full extent of Paul Manafort’s impact on the culture of Washington influence peddling. 

But as Manafort’s trial continues this week, this much is already clear: the former Trump aide’s legal woes have made the world of D.C. lobbyists who work for foreign governments slightly less murky.

Federal Contractors Made Illegal Pro-Trump Super PAC Contributions, Complaint Says
Watchdog group wants FEC to investigate

Updated 8:43 p.m. | A politically connected contractor made a $500,000 contribution this spring to a pro-Trump super PAC the day after it received a payment of almost the same amount as part of a Department of Defense contract, a watchdog group said.

The Campaign Legal Center flagged that contribution and a $50,000 contribution from another company to a super PAC supporting Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s Senate campaign, in separate complaints to the Federal Election Commission filed Wednesday afternoon.

Voters Still Split on Who They Want to Control Congress, Poll Finds
Public ambivalence at odds with predictions of a blue wave

Voters remain divided over the party they want to control Congress after the midterms, in spite of growing media sentiment of an eminent blue wave.

That’s according to an Economist/YouGov poll released Wendesday, which found 33 percent of respondents preferred Democratic control, compared to 31 percent who said they wanted Republicans to win. 

How Poisoned Water Brought Democrats and Republicans Together
Flint lawmaker talks cross-aisle friendships, maintaining sense of urgency after spotlight dims

Dan Kildee, a Democrat with leadership aspirations, was about to leave the House floor when a Republican colleague pulled him aside with an earnest question: How was the water in Flint?

It’s complicated. Despite miles of replaced pipes, people are still waiting in long lines for bottled water.

FiscalNote Finalizing Acquisition of CQ Roll Call From The Economist Group
Washington-based company uses technology to analyze legislation worldwide

FiscalNote, a rapidly growing Washington-based company that uses technology to track and analyze legislation around the world, is finalizing acquisition of CQ Roll Call from The Economist Group. The deal was announced Wednesday.

CQ Roll Call, which represents two of the country’s oldest brands in nonpartisan political journalism, would become part of a five-year-old company with big-pocketed investors, a record of rapid growth and a goal of redefining the way that information is gathered and shared in Washington and other global capitals.

Groups Call for Fed Crackdown on Lawmaker Slush Funds
Petition to FEC asks for clarification that steak dinners, golf outings are personal expenses

Watchdog groups asked federal officials Tuesday to crack down on lawmakers who use certain fundraising accounts to finance their golf outings and steak lunches.

Leadership political action committees are meant to help Congress members raise money for their colleagues — thus helping them climb leadership ranks. Because those accounts aren’t subject to the same spending restrictions as the ones candidates use for their own campaigns, they are prone to eyebrow-raising spending activity, or “used as slush funds to subsidize officeholders’ lifestyles,” the Campaign Legal Center and Issue One wrote in a petition to the FEC.

Tech Fellowship Expands After Embarrassing Facebook Hearing
TechCongress hopes to place 10 fellows in 2019

Among the complex problems that Facebook poses to Congress, at least one has an easy solution: Most lawmakers don’t understand technology. So they need to hire more people who do.

That’s according to Travis Moore, a former staffer whose nonprofit aims to increase tech savvy on the Hill. TechCongress, a fellowship program his organization started with two recipients in 2015, is expanding and accepting applications for a class of up to ten to be placed in congressional offices in January.

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

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. 

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

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. 

Alexa, What’s Going on in the House of Representatives?
Project would allow data queries from a smart speaker

What’s the quickest way to find out whether the House is in session? What committee hearings are scheduled? The name of a district’s congressional representative?

Soon, you might be able to ask Alexa.