Steve Cohen

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.  

Word on the Hill: When Kinzinger Isn’t a Congressman
Your social calendar for the week

From left, Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., and Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., take a selfie on Inauguration Day before Donald J. Trump’s inauguration in January. Kinzinger joined Barstool Sports for a podcast. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., is a pilot in the Air National Guard, which is a hard balance with his life in Congress, since members of the military are supposed to keep their politics to themselves.

He joined Barstool Sports’ Zero Blog Thirty podcast for a pilot-heavy episode in which he talks about that division.

Las Vegas Shooting Reignites Gun Debate on Capitol Hill
Members offer prayers and condolences to victims and families, tributes to police and first responders

People scramble for shelter at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after a gunman opened fire, leaving at least 50 people dead and more than 2oo wounded. (David Becker/Getty Images)

Democratic lawmakers on Monday morning renewed their pleas for legislative action to restrict access to firearms after a gunman unleashed a storm of bullets on concertgoers on the Las Vegas Strip late Sunday night.

At least 58 people were killed, officials said. Multiple media outlets have reported that more than 500 people were taken to local hospitals for treatment in what is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Bipartisan Medical Marijuana Legislation Reintroduced
Bill would allow states to set their own laws

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., is part of a bipartisan group of lawmakers who support legislation that would enable states to set their own medical marijuana policies. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

 A bipartisan group of senators and representatives have reintroduced legislation that would enable states to set their own medical marijuana policies.

That is at odds with a letter U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent to congressional leaders, in which he asked that federal medical marijuana protections be reversed.

Cohen Wants Probe of Eric Trump’s Charity Golf Tournament
Comes after Forbes investigation showed all the money wasn’t going to St. Jude Research Hospital

Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., said money from Eric Trump’s fundraising golf tournament for St. Jude’s has gone to the Trump Organization. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Tennessee Democratic Rep. Steve Cohenwants Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate Eric Trump’s charity golf tournament.

The request comes after Forbes Magazine investigation found that some of the money from the younger Trump’s charity tournament that raises money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Cohen’s district went to some of the president’s favorite charities.

Opinion: Pardon Me? A Constitutional Amendment Would Fix That
Congress should act quickly

President Donald Trump would be smart to get behind an effort to prohibit presidents from pardoning themselves, Allen writes. (Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)

There’s at least one big hole in the Constitution when it comes to the president’s power: He can pardon himself.

“He shall have the power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment,” the founders wrote. Simple, straightforward, easy to understand. Maybe the revolutionary generation didn’t give much thought to the possibility that a president would find it necessary or advisable to pardon himself. The Federalist Papers: No. 74, which deals with the powers of the chief executive to grant leniency, doesn’t even contemplate a self-pardon.

Word on the Hill: Embassy Chef Competition
Wreath-laying for women in the military

Belgium is one of the countries represented in the Embassy Chef Challenge this evening. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Decide for yourself which embassy has the best cuisine.

Thirty-nine chefs from countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas are competing in Events DC’s Embassy Chef Challenge at 6 p.m. today. Last year’s winner was the chef from the Embassy of the Philippines, and in 2015, the Embassy of Barbados took home the trophy.

Meet the Dogs of the House
Canine friends in Ros-Lehtinen, Polis, Grothman, Cohen, Deutch’s offices

Prudence Peppermint Rose Rogin, a 2-year-old Havanese who belongs to Rep. Ted Deutch's chief of staff, hangs out often in the Florida Democrat’s office. (Courtesy of Deutch's office)

In the dog-eat-dog world of Congress, there are a few nonpartisan pups that help lighten the mood.

On Monday, we gave you the dogs of the Senate, and now, we look at the House pooches who brighten up days on both sides of the aisle.

Cohen Says Kushner Will Determine Trump’s Kush Policy
Tennessee Democrat thinks president’s son-in-law and daughter will moderate his marijuana views

Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen, right, says Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump will have their say on President Donald Trump’s marijuana policy. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Steve Cohen says it is likely that President Donald Trump’s son-in-law will determine the president’s policy on marijuana.

“It comes down to WWJD — What would Jared do?” the Tennessee Democrat told The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal.

Bipartisan Road Trip Arrives at the Capitol Just in Time for Votes
Reps. Will Hurd and Beto O'Rourke completed the trip from Texas

Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, left, and Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, walk up the House steps at the Capitol just in time for votes on on Wednesday, March 15, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Forty minutes before a House vote on Wednesday, Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke and Republican Rep. Will Hurd pulled up to the House steps, making the completion of their bipartisan road trip.

The two Texas congressmen decided to road trip together from San Antonio to Washington, D.C., after the East Coast’s winter storm caused flight cancellations earlier in the week. The more than 24-hour trip, which included several stops and a few hours for sleep, ended with a tight arrival to work.