John Sarbanes

Anti-corruption, campaign finance overhaul bills preview likely 2020 campaign theme
Issue is likely to remain a signature theme for Democrats running for the White House and Congress

Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo.(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Even as House Democrats have made a political overhaul a top priority, numerous lawmakers, including freshman members, have filed their own campaign finance and anti-corruption bills, a sign the topic will dominate into the 2020 campaigns.

Rep. Jason Crow, a Colorado Democrat who unseated Republican Mike Coffman last November, introduced his first bill last week: a measure that could lead to disclosures of donors to 501(c)(4) “social welfare” tax-exempt groups that play in politics.

Voting Rights Piece May Take More Time in Ethics Overhaul
“We’re not going to put any fixed deadline on that,” Sarbanes says

Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., says work on a voting rights component of the Democrats’ planned ethics overhaul may require more time. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats who are preparing an overhaul of political and ethics laws, a top priority of the incoming majority, have acknowledged that a component aimed at restoring a key section of the Voting Rights Act may take longer than their speedy timeline for the bill.

Other pieces of the overhaul, which Democratic leaders have said they will designate as House bill 1 in the new Congress, could also run parallel to the main package as a way to garner bipartisan support in the Senate, said Rep. John Sarbanes, the Maryland Democrat who is crafting the bill.

Democrats Go Into 2019 With Ethics Blazing
Pelosi, Sarbanes tease dark money overhaul as the party’s grand opening salvo

Campaign finance is high on Democrats’ agenda. Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi rolled out some details last week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A collection of House Democrats is working behind the scenes to tee up the party’s first order of business in the new Congress: a big overhaul of campaign finance, voting and ethics laws.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Maryland Rep. John Sarbanes offered a sneak peak Friday of what will likely be christened HR 1 in the 116th Congress. Instead of starting from scratch, the bill will draw from numerous existing proposals — including some that have languished for years during GOP control.

How the ‘No Corporate PAC’ Pledge Caught Fire
Three-quarters of Democratic challengers in top races are rejecting corporate PAC money

Democrat Andy Kim rejected corporate PAC money early on in his campaign. (Simone Pathé/CQ Roll Call)

Andy Kim never expected to run for the House. Certainly not against the 19th wealthiest member of Congress.

When he was first considering a bid for New Jersey’s 3rd District, the former national security official didn’t like the questions corporate political action committees wanted candidates to answer. Already troubled by money in politics, Kim decided to reject corporate PAC money.

Comstock, Wexton Hit the Halloween Parade Trail in Virginia’s 10th
Candidates find plenty of support at annual event in Leesburg

Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., greets participants Wednesday before the start of the 62nd annual Kiwanis Halloween Parade in Leesburg, Va. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

LEESBURG, Va. – A Halloween parade here Wednesday night set the stage for one of those rare political moments when two congressional opponents campaign in the same place, at the same time.

But at a time of high partisan and political tensions, there was no noticeable animosity as Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock and Jennifer Wexton, her Democratic challenger in Virginia’s 10th District, stood about 20 feet apart in a field, waiting for nearly an hour for the Kiwanis Halloween Parade to begin. 

America Is at a Midterm Crossroads. Let Us Count the Ways
November results will move us left — or much further right

The direction of the nation’s most contentious and consequential issues hinges on what voters decide Nov. 6. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Next week’s elections will not only determine the balance of power on Capitol Hill but also will seal the fate of the Trump administration’s legislative agenda for the next two years and set the landscape of the 2020 presidential campaigns.

The direction of the nation’s most contentious and consequential issues — health care, immigration, taxes, climate change, trade, gun control, ethics and campaign finance overhauls and oversight of the administration — hinges on what voters decide Nov. 6.

Government Overhaul Like ‘Caffeine’ for Economic Agenda, Dems Say
Minority whip to deliver speech Wednesday outlining campaign finance, voting, ethics, rules overhauls

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., will deliver a speech Wednesday calling for Democrats to quickly pass a government overhaul package in January if they are in the majority. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If Democrats win the House majority, Steny Hoyer believes their economic agenda will do better if they first pass a government overhaul package to help restore Americans’ continuously eroding trust in government.

“To regain that trust, our response must be vigorous and innovative,” the minority whip plans to say in a speech Wednesday morning, according to excerpts shared with Roll Call.

Foreign Lobbying Overhauls Stall as Manafort Goes to Trial
Critics say no measure gets to the root of 1938 law’s problems

UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 6: Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort leaves the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse after a court hearing on the terms of his bail and house arrest on Monday, Nov. 6, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

This Congress has a crush on the idea of overhauling the nation’s foreign lobbying regulations, but lawmakers apparently can’t seem to find the one bill they want to commit to.

Mulvaney Backlash May Drive Political Money Changes
Even lobbyists distanced their industry from remarks by the White House budget chief

Watchdog groups characterized Mick Mulvaney’s remarks as “brazen.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Advocates for tougher campaign finance regulations say comments from Mick Mulvaney seeming to describe a pay-to-play style of politics on Capitol Hill will boost their long-term effort to overhaul the rules and could benefit like-minded candidates in the midterm elections.

Mulvaney, the White House budget chief and acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, told a group of bankers Tuesday that when he served in Congress, his office refused meetings with lobbyists who did not provide political contributions. Mulvaney, a Republican, represented a South Carolina district from January 2011 to February 2017, when he became director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Facebook’s Lobbying Team Faces Test With Zuckerberg on Hill
Zuckerberg intends to approach appearance in a contrite and humble manner, sources say

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook, is leaning on an expanding roster of well-connected lobbyists and message-shapers at his company, as well as a team of outside consultants, to prepare for questions from members of Congress this week. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images file photo)

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg’s highly anticipated debut as a congressional witness this week marks an unprecedented step in the company’s decade-long effort to wield influence in the nation’s capital.    

The social media titan is leaning on an expanding roster of well-connected lobbyists and message shapers at his company, as well as a team of outside consultants, to prepare for a host of questions from senators on Tuesday and House members Wednesday. Lawmakers plan to probe everything from a scandal involving Facebook users’ data to the secretive sources of campaign ads on the platform.