ethics

A Huge Congressional Settlement Involving Sexual Harassment — And Hardly Anyone Knew
Lawmakers on Helsinki Commission blindsided by report of $220K payout

Florida Rep. Alcee L. Hastings has denied allegations of sexual misconduct that led to a $220,000 payment to a former congressional staffer. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The $220,000 paid to former staffer Winsome Packer in 2014 is by far the largest known settlement involving Congress and accusations of sexual harassment in recent years.

But few, if any, of the lawmakers who served on the congressional commission where Packer worked seem to have been informed about it until the sum was reported by Roll Call on Friday.  

Analysis: 2017 Has Been Nutty for K Street, but 2018 Could Be Insane
Campaign season is soon to kick into high gear

As 2017 draws to a close, the unpredictable nature of the first year of the Trump administration could very well bleed into next year as the midterm elections heat up. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lobbyists have — almost — survived a genuinely bonkers year.

The Trump era ushered in a maelstrom of unpredictable policy fights along with scandals that have ripped into K Street. Think it can’t get any stranger? Just wait until campaign season kicks into high gear in 2018.

Capitol Ink | Cribbing Claus

Trump-Gillibrand Offer Possible 2020 Preview After Racy Tweet
Schumer: Trump’s ‘tweet was nasty — unbecoming of the president’

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, left, and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand leave a Democratic Conference lunch in the Capitol in May. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House and Senate Republicans raced to finish their tax bill. Both parties postured about a government shutdown. All of that was drowned out Tuesday by President Donald Trump’s Twitter war with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

The president went after the New York Democrat with a Tuesday morning tweet that alleged she “would do anything” for his campaign contributions before he ran for president. 

Dogged By Sexual Misconduct Claims, Farenthold Slogs Ahead in Texas
Texas GOP delegation remains tight-lipped about support of congressman’s fifth-term bid

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, has carried on his re-election campaign amid a sexual misconduct controversy. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Blake Farenthold signaled Monday he intends to slog ahead with his re-election campaign against the storm of sexual misconduct claims against him, the Texas Tribune reported.

The fourth-term Lone Star State Republican, 56, will face a crowded GOP primary to keep his 27th District seat, with five challengers declaring they’ll take him on.

Trump Says Gillibrand ‘Would Do Anything’ for Campaign Donations
Gillibrand fires back: ‘You cannot silence me’

President Donald Trump speaks to the media before departing the White House last week. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Updated at 9:45 a.m. | President Donald Trump on Tuesday alleged that Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand “would do anything” for his campaign contributions before he ran for president. 

In a morning tweet, the president dubbed the New York Democrat a “lightweight” and dubbed her “disloyal” to the Clintons, whom he tweeted “USED!” her.

How Moore Would Change the Senate From Day One
From collegial courtesy to the page program, Hill culture would be rattled

Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore and his wife Kayla leave Moore's "Drain the Swamp" rally in Midland City, Ala., on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The nature of the Senate would be challenged right away, and in several tangible ways, with the election of Roy Moore.

Even though Congress is now defined by its tribal partisanship, which long ago gave the lie to whatever senatorial claim remained to being “the world’s greatest deliberative body,” Tuesday’s special election in Alabama threatens to make life in the northern half of Capitol Hill an even more unpleasant experience. Traditions and courtesies that have applied a bit of congenial gloss to the coarseness of the place would soon enough become endangered by Moore’s very presence.

Capitol Ink | Binary Decision

Fifty-Plus Female Democratic Lawmakers Urge Investigation Into Trump Allegations
Group sends letter to oversight committee over sexual misconduct claims

More than 50 female Democratic lawmakers are pushing for an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against President Donald Trump. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

More than 50 female Democratic lawmakers on Monday asked leaders in the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to open an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against President Donald Trump.

In a letter to Chairman Trey Gowdy of South Carolina and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings of Maryland, 59 lawmakers from the Democratic Women’s Working Group (DWWG) said the president’s own comments “appear to back up the allegations.”

Can Presidents Obstruct Justice? Republicans and Democrats Say Yes
Durbin: ‘Desperate statement’ suggests ‘they expect to lose on the merits’

Vermont Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, left, and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham confer before a hearing in 2015. Both senior Judiciary Committee members say there is ample precedent showing a president can obstruct justice, despite a claim to the contrary by President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican and Democratic lawmakers say an assertion by Donald Trump’s personal lawyer that a sitting president cannot obstruct justice is dubious, warning the White House there is ample precedent to the contrary.

The members were reacting to Trump lawyer John Dowd’s legal argument in a recent interview with Axios that “the president cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under [Article II of the Constitution] and has every right to express his view of any case.”