Tom McClintock

Anti-legalization group releases first pot lobby tracker
Political donations to federal candidates mark growth in industry, shift in focus from states

Reps. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., and Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., are among the biggest recipients of pot industry money to date, according to a new database maintained by an anti-legalization group. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A group opposed to the legalization of marijuana on Tuesday unveiled a tool to track industry donations to federal candidates. 

Smart Approaches to Marijuana, or SAM, is the first major opposition group to attempt to quantify the industry’s federal-level lobbying efforts,a sign of the growing profile of the legalization movement.

These Planes Will Fight Fires, If You Can Wait 10 Years
Stalled Air Force conversions show how a seemingly straightforward job can take years in the arcane federal acquisition system

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., spearheaded the recent legislative mandates to convert the transport planes into fire tankers. It’s taking too long, she says. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In 2013, Congress ordered the Air Force to convert seven Coast Guard transport planes into firefighting tanker aircraft, but now the first of the planes may not be ready to fight fires for several more years, nearly a decade after the initial plan was launched. 

The story of the seven planes illustrates how a seemingly straightforward job can take years in the arcane federal acquisition system, even when the equipment is a matter of life and death. 

Congress Relatively Mum on Raging California Camp Fire
A list of missing people spiked to more than 600 names Thursday

Few members of Congress outside of the California delegation have weighed in on the Camp Fire raging north of Sacramento. Years of drought have created a “tinderbox” in the Golden State, according to NASA. (NASA)

Despite a dramatic spike in the number of people unaccounted for as the historically deadly Camp Fire rages in northern California, members of Congress have been relatively quiet on the natural disaster. 

A list of missing people ballooned from 130 names to nearly 300 names within hours Wednesday, the Mercury News reported, and reached more than 600 names by late Thursday. Sixty-three people have died, and another three have died in a simultaneous blaze in Southern California. 

Mike Johnson Elected Next Republican Study Committee Chairman
Freshman Louisiana Republican won chairmanship over California Rep. Tom McClintock

Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., leaves the House Republican Conference meeting at the Capitol Hill Club on Wednesday, May 16, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 3:03 p.m. | Louisiana freshman Rep. Mike Johnson will chair the Republican Study Committee in the 116th Congress, after winning a race Friday against five-term California Rep. Tom McClintock.

This is the second consecutive RSC election in which a first-term congressman was elected chairman over a more senior lawmaker.

Republican Study Committee to Decide Between Mike Johnson, Tom McClintock for Next Chairman
Both candidates want to boost the RSC’s role in developing and communicating conservative policy ideas

Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., is running to be the next chairman of the Republican Study Committee, the largest conservative caucus in the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans aren’t shying away from their conservative beliefs after they lost more than 30 seats to Democrats in last week’s midterm election. If anything they’re doubling down and trying to hone in on a more conservative message heading into 2020.

The Republican Study Committee, the largest conservative caucus in Congress, has long wrestled with questions about what it means to be a conservative and how to enact conservative policy in a divided Congress. Even with unified Republican government these past two years, the RSC struggled to enact some of its key priorities, such as pro-life policies and work requirements for government benefits.

California Wildfires Headed to Capitol Hill
Funding fire suppression a looming issue

A firefighting helicopter drops water as the Holy Fire burns near homes on Friday in Lake Elsinore, California. Wildfires continue to burn in the state. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Lawmakers thought they fixed the U.S. Forest Service’s “fire borrowing” problem earlier this year. But the breadth and intensity of fires scorching the West this year is likely to prompt the agency to raid other accounts one last time before budgetary changes go into effect in fiscal 2020.

The issue could come to a head once again on Capitol Hill in the coming weeks and months, as lawmakers and the administration weigh the need for another infusion of taxpayer dollars ahead of the midterm elections — and California’s devastating fires have already become a campaign issue.

Democratic Group Launches Wildfire Ads Against California Congressman
Red to Blue CA is targeting GOP Rep. Tom McClintock in NorCal district

Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., is a DCCC target this cycle. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Democratic outside group is launching a new ad campaign against California Republican Rep. Tom McClintock, accusing him of voting against wildfire assistance last year. The launch comes as the largest wildfire in the state’s history rages in northern California.

Red to Blue CA is coming out with mailers and a digital ad on Facebook linking the congressman from the largely rural 4th District to the wildfire. The group cites his December 2017 vote against an emergency spending bill that offered additional funds to communities recovering from hurricanes and wildfires. The measure did pass the House.

Uncertainty Lingers in Critical California House Races
Democratic nominees remain unknown after initial primary results

Democrats are targeting 10 GOP-held seats in California. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats will keep a close eye on California county registrars over the next few days as uncertainty remains in several House races. But initial results show Democrats could avoid a general election shutout in some of their top targets.

The Associated Press has yet to call the second-place finishers in seven of Democrats’ 10 GOP-held targets in the Golden State, with mail-in ballots yet to be counted, and a voter roll debacle that threw even more chaos into vote-counting.

Democratic McClintock Opponent Drops Six Figures on Ad
Challenger Jessica Morse hits incumbent for not living in the district

“It’s easy to vote against the interests of your district when the people aren’t your neighbors,” Democrat Jessica Morse says of incumbent GOP Rep. Tom McClintock. (Jessica Morse for Congress via Facebook)

A Democratic opponent of California Rep. Tom McClintock dropped six figures for an advertisement criticizing him for not living in California’s 4th district.

Jessica Morse’s ad hits McClintock for abandoning the interests of the district by voting against money to prevent wildfires and help homeowners rebuild afterward.

Rating Changes in 19 House Races, All Toward Democrats
In total, 68 GOP-held seats are now rated competitive

New Mexico Democrat Xochitl Torres Small is running for the seat GOP Rep. Steve Pearce is vacating to run for governor. The 2nd District race is now rated Leans Republican. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Despite forecasts of a blue tsunami, it’s still not guaranteed that Democrats will win back the House majority. But the playing field of competitive House races is expanding and shifting to almost exclusively Republican territory.

After the latest round of changes, Inside Elections now has 68 Republican seats rated as vulnerable compared to just 10 vulnerable Democratic seats. And there are at least a couple dozen more GOP-held seats that could develop into competitive races in the months ahead.