hillside

Does Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez need a ‘chief of change’ or a change of staff?
Who is calling the shots in New York Democrat’s office?

By going after Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other House Democrats, Saikat Chakrabarti, left, chief of staff to New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, broke a cardinal rule of the unwritten Hill staffer code, Murphy writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — Mention the name Saikat Chakrabarti to Democratic chiefs of staff on Capitol Hill, and you’ll get an array of fed-up responses to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s high-profile top aide, from “Ugh” to “What the (expletive)?” to “He’s got to go.”

Although staffer feuds are not uncommon, the Harvard-educated former tech executive who leads AOC’s office has recently committed the two great sins against the unwritten code of Capitol Hill staffers. The first is to never upstage the boss.

Former GOP staffer running for Virginia delegate knows not to knock the ‘swamp’
Hill experience isn’t a liability for D.J. Jordan on the campaign trail

Former Hill staffer D.J. Jordan, here at a July Fourth parade in Daly City, Va., is running for the Virginia House of Delegates. (Courtesy D.J. Jordan)

When D.J. Jordan was a Hill staffer, his drive into the city took an hour and 15 minutes, and that was on a good day. He turned to the fine art of slugging — picking up fellow commuters at designated parking lots to reach a quorum for the HOV-3 express lanes.

“It has literally been my personal nightmare,” Jordan said. “I can’t tell you how many nights I’ve missed family dinner and missed my son’s football practice and missed my daughter’s dance rehearsal or recital because I’m stuck in traffic.”

Are you cut out for the campaign trail?
How to tell if you’re a campaigner or meant for the Hill life

Jennifer Wexton campaign manager Ray Rieling points to CNN’s coverage of the Virginia 10th District race as Wexton’s staff and family watch election returns in the campaign’s war room on election night 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Half-eaten doughnuts. Late-night conference calls over multiple cups of coffee. The life of a campaigner can be hectic and unpredictable. It’s also more physical, whether it’s spending hours in a car driving from the Tallapoosa County Democratic Women’s luncheon or logging miles on Saturday morning door knocking in the summer heat.

It’s best suited for those with a high tolerance for chaos.

James Clyburn: Live at the Comedy Cellar
House majority whip kicks off International Joke Day with a 3-joke set (on Twitter)

Despite his best efforts, there is probably no Netflix standup special in House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn’s future. (Courtesy Rep. James E. Clyburn via Twitter)

We may be weeks removed from Father’s Day but that didn’t discourage House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn from unleashing a torrent of dad jokes so corny his district now qualifies for ethanol subsidies.

The South Carolina Democrat logged on to Twitter dot com on Monday to rattle off some turtle-themed material in celebration of International Joke Day. His jokes included gems like this:

Urine trouble: Rep. Matt Gaetz receives apology from Buttigieg campaign staffer
Everyone needs to just relax and have a drink

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz says an apology from a Pete Buttigieg campaign staffer for an offensive tweet is “certainly good enough for me. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Matt Gaetz says he received a phone call from Samantha Lillian Elaine Pollara, a campaign staffer for Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, after she posted a Facebook comment aimed at the Florida Republican that read, “Please, please let it be urine next time” followed by three “fingers crossed” emojis.

The plea for pee was in reference to an incident that took place last month in Pensacola, Florida, when Gaetz was struck by a drink cup, allegedly thrown by Amanda Kondrat’yev as he left a town hall. Gaetz has since said that he plans to press charges against Kondrat’yev, who briefly ran against him in 2016 before withdrawing from the race.

Democratic domination continues in Congressional Baseball Game
Lawmakers take a break from border funding, debate buzz to compete on the field

Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Colorado collides with Republican Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois at home plate during the 58th annual Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park on Wednesday. Perlmutter scored on the play. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Ask any dad and he will tell you: Defense wins championships. But when Republicans ask themselves what went wrong Wednesday night, they might point to a sloppy defensive effort that resulted in four errors and their third straight loss to the Democrats.

The 14-7 win at the Congressional Baseball Game was the Democrats’ eighth in nine years, behind another complete game effort from MVP Cedric Richmond and solid hitting from the lineup.

Field notes from a North Carolina runoff and a reparations hearing
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 79

The GOP primary runoff in North Carolina’s 3rd District has become somewhat of a proxy war between House Freedom Caucus leaders Mark Meadows, left, and Jim Jordan, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There is always a special congressional election somewhere. For the purposes of this particular Political Theater podcast, it is the upcoming Republican primary runoff in North Carolina’s 3rd District.

This is the seat that became vacant when longtime GOP Rep. Walter B. Jones died earlier this year. The April 30 GOP primary ended with two candidates heading to a July 9 runoff: state Rep. Greg Murphy and political newcomer Joan Perry. (The winner will face Democrat Allen Thomas, the former mayor of Greenville, in a Sept. 10 special general election to serve out the remainder of the 116th Congress.)

Pay debate raging on Capitol Hill ignores lowest-earning staffers
Boosting MRA would do most to address pay woes, Hill aides say

Boosting member pay could translate to higher salary caps for staffers, as House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer has pointed out. But what about those who make the least? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While Congress tussles over whether a legislative spending bill should allow a salary boost for lawmakers, their staffers agree that the Members’ Representational Allowance — which pays House staff salaries — needs more funding.

House Democrats this month pulled the Legislative Branch appropriations bill amid backlash from Republican campaign strategists and members of their own caucus.

Hearing on Congressional Research Service zeroes in on diversity issue
Rare look inside CRS at House Administration Committee

Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, said the Congressional Research Service should have a more diverse staff. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A rare public hearing on Thursday examining the Congressional Research Service revealed concerns about its lack of diversity in its leadership ranks, as members questioned its leader about hiring practices.

At Thursday’s House Administration Committee, Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., asked CRS Director Mary B. Mazanec about the staff closest to her, specifically if any were a person of color, which he defined as “African American, Latino, Asian American, Pacific Islander.” Mazanec said she had “about 12 direct reports,” and only one of them was a person of color.

Steven A. Sund named US Capitol Police chief
New chief, who has been with agency since 2017, previously directed special operations for D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department

Capitol Police Assistant Chief Steven A. Sund, left, and Chief Matthew R. Verderosa place flowers in honor of fallen police officers during the Washington Area Law Enforcement Memorial Service on May 6. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Steven A. Sund is the new chief of the U.S. Capitol Police.

The Capitol Police Board, which oversees the force that provides law enforcement for the Capitol and members of Congress, made the announcement Friday, elevating Sund from his previous role as the department’s assistant chief.