Rebecca Gale

Congresswoman Who Survived Jonestown Attack Now Staring Down Sexual Harassment

Who is Rep. Jackie Speier? The California Democrat, who is making headlines for her bill to prevent sexual misconduct in Congress, is also a survivor of the 1978 Jonestown massacre when she traveled to the commune as a legal aide to Rep. Leo Ryan. Roll Call sat down with Speier in 2015 to discuss the incident, where she was shot five times as part of a delegation to the cult’s commune in South America.

Saturday, Nov. 18, will be the 39th anniversary of the assassination attempt.

Predatory Behavior: The Dark Side of Capitol Hill
Congress has done very little to tighten its controls over sexual harassment

The United States Capitol building. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Among the many charges of sexual misbehavior that surfaced during the 2016 campaign was one in October by Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, who recalled members of Congress in the past “rubbing up against girls, sticking their tongues down women’s throats” without their consent.

Roll Call Family Continues to Grow

Micah Salzman Margolies (Courtesy Rebecca Gale)

Roll Call staff writer Rebecca Gale welcomed a new baby boy on Monday afternoon. The proud dad, attorney Warren Margolies, announced the birth of Micah Salzman Margolies, named after his great-grandfather Max Kravitz and Rebecca's great-grandmother, Rose (Salzman) Gale.  

Micah was born at 3:08 p.m. on Jan. 4, weighing 6 pounds, 5 ounces and measuring 19.5 inches. He is the couple's second child, following Ezra Alan Margolies, who was born in August 2013.  

Ready for Congress 3.0?

Stuck in the 1970s? President Gerald Ford, left and then-House Majority Leader Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill share a moment in 1975. The way Congress operates is stuck in the era, argues the head of the Congressional Management Foundation. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The 2016 election year is almost upon us, but “Congress is largely still stuck in the 1970s,” argues Bradford Fitch, president of the Congressional Management Foundation.  

Fitch, a former Hill staffer, would like to help shepherd his former employer into the modern era — "Congress 3.0," he calls it. He thinks his organization can make some headway by utilizing two multiyear grants they were just awarded to study up to 12 congressional offices, survey the constituents who interact with those offices, and come up with a best practice toolkit. “Congress 1.0 was your ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,’” Fitch said, a simpler era symbolized by the 1939 Jimmy Stewart film. Congress 2.0, Fitch continued, was defined by the growth in congressional offices, both in staff size and diversity, in the 1970s.  

Holiday Party Time Kicks Off

'Tis the season for holiday parties. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It's holiday party time, and every trade organization, lobbying shop and PR firm wants to ply members and their staff with booze, food and gifts.  

“This is a happy hour and cocktail reception city,” said Rodell Mollineau, a former Senate staffer who is now a partner at Rokk Solutions. And none more so than the holiday season. In compliance with House ethics rules, edible fare at such events tend to be finger foods. The rules allow people who work on the Hill to attend receptions and partake in “[f]ood or refreshments of a nominal value offered other than as a part of a meal.” The Senate also allows attendance at a widely attended event in which food is provided to every attendee.  

Vote for a Refugees Capitol Quip!


— It might have been safer to take our chances with the sharks. — Just our luck. We arrived during a presidential campaign. — Couldn't they at least abridge this path to nowhere? — Where's the TSA Pre-Check Line?  

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog Saturday, and in the following print edition of Roll Call. The contest winner will receive a signed color print of his or her Capitol Quip cartoon from the cartoonist, R.J. Matson.

From Sex Worker to Hill Staffer

Former Reid staffer Natasha Guynes overcame hardship in her 20s and has started a nonprofit to help other women in need. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

“Drink a beer, smoke a joint. But lay off the crack, it will rot your teeth.”  

That was the advice Natasha Guynes remembers receiving from her estranged father while she was high on crack and cocaine. At only 20 years old, Guynes had wanted to get as far away as possible from her family in Louisiana. Without any way to support herself, she turned to sex trafficking, and to self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. At her low point, she realized that the advice her father had given her about laying off crack was "sick in itself,” said Guynes, whose drug and alcohol use landed her in a Washington, D.C., hospital over Thanksgiving weekend in 2001.

Where the Drinkers Are in Congress

Just how many drinks are staffers imbibing at work events? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The congressional drinking culture is alive and well, helped along by the demands of the job.  

According to a survey of congressional staff, nearly half, or 47 percent, of staffers attend social events for work either once or twice a week. Those events are predominantly serving alcoholic beverages. Perhaps that helped lead to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that shows the District of Columbia with a slightly higher percentage of adult binge drinkers (22 percent) as compared to the national average of 16 percent. The CDC classifies "binge drinking " as occurring when men consume five or more drinks, and when women consume 4 or more drinks, in about 2 hours. The CDC's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System ranked D.C. in its "third tertile," sharing a similar "dark red" ranking with North Dakota and ahead of only Nebraska at 22 percent and Wisconsin at 26 percent of binge drinkers.  

Vote for Your Favorite Honeymooners Capitol Quip!


— He just updated his Facebook Status to "It's Complicated." — Do you think we should knock? — If I were you, I'd throw in the towels. — If this is the "honeymoon," I hate to see what the marriage is going to look like! — Maybe we should come back later.  

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog Saturday, and in the following print edition of Roll Call. The contest winner will receive a signed color print of his or her Capitol Quip cartoon from the cartoonist, R.J. Matson.

Congresswoman Left for Dead at Jonestown Recalls the Massacre, 37 Years Later

(Bettmann/Corbis /AP Images)

Rep. Jackie Speier knows exactly how it feels to be left for dead.

On Nov. 18, 1978, she was shot five times on a remote airstrip in Guyana, South America. Her boss, Rep. Leo J. Ryan and four others lay dead nearby, killed by gunfire as they tried to escape Jonestown, the commune built by cult leader Jim Jones.