congressional-staffers

Merdon out at AOC, Thomas Carroll named new acting architect
Search continues for permanent Architect of the Capitol

Acting Architect of the Capitol Christine Merdon resigned, and Thomas J. Carroll has been named to lead the agency. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Christine Merdon is out as acting Architect of the Capitol, and Thomas J. Carroll has been named to lead the agency on an acting basis as the search for a permanent AOC continues.

In an internal notice to AOC employees, Merdon said she had accepted a job outside of the agency.

Engel wants staffers to warn foreign governments about spending at Trump’s hotels
New memo instructs staff on interactions with foreign governments

House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot L. Engel wants Democratic staffers to warn foreign government officials that spending at Trump-owned properties could violate the Constitution’s emoluments clause. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A new directive this week from House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot L. Engel instructs staffers to warn foreign governments that spending at Trump-owned properties could violate the Constitution’s emoluments clause.

The memo, released Monday, issues guidelines for staff engaging with foreign governments. The directive signed by the New York Democrat is aimed specifically at the committee’s majority staff. Republican staffers were not given the same instructions.

Chief administrative officer warns employees: Shape up or risk being outsourced
Congress is not looking to outsource CAO services — yet, Philip Kiko says

House Chief Administrative Officer Philip Kiko said Congress could be tempted to outsource CAO services to the private sector. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House chief administrative officer struck an ominous tone in a staff meeting Wednesday, warning employees that Congress could eventually look to outsource many of their services to private sector vendors if they don’t step up and meet member demands.

In an all-hands meeting broadcast on YouTube, Philip Kiko focused on a set of recommendations approved by the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress last week and his appearance before that same committee on July 11, both of which yielded criticism of his office’s performance.

So much for Whistleblower Appreciation Day; Capitol Hill workers still unprotected
Employees of legislative branch agencies don't have the same protections as other federal workers

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., once cosponsored a whistleblower protection bill, but Capitol Hill staff remain unprotected. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate had declared July 30 as “National Whistleblower Appreciation Day,” but that apparently is for other people, since senators’ own staffers and other legislative branch employees are not protected equally compared to other federal workers.

The discrepancy has been in place for years, but legislation to expand protections for employees of the House and Senate, Library of Congress, Capitol Police and other agencies hasn’t moved forward.

Two GOP groups have tried — and failed — to censure Rep. Riggleman for officiating gay wedding
Virginia freshman Republican was 'happy to officiate' the wedding, he said, earning the ire of some local party leaders

Rep. Denver Riggleman, R-Va., officiated a same-sex marriage earlier this month, leading to some local GOP leaders in his district to attempt to censure him. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Local GOP leaders in Virginia orchestrated two unsuccessful votes this week to censure Republican Rep. Denver Riggleman for officiating a same-sex wedding for two volunteer campaign staffers.

On July 14, Riggleman oversaw the marriage of two men who worked for his 2018 campaign, the Washington Post reported earlier this month.

Retiring page school principal honored by McConnell
After 26 years, Kathryn Weeden is leaving the job

Pages pose for a group photo on the Senate steps on April 24, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A behind-the-scenes force on Capitol Hill is retiring after 26 years on the job. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell paid tribute Tuesday to Senate Page School principal Kathryn Weeden in a speech on the floor.

“For more than a quarter century, principal Weeden has been a constant anchor in a place where rotation and change are par for the course,” the Kentucky Republican said.

Rep. Gottheimer denounces ‘completely untrue’ resignation letter detailing affair
Fake letter, sent to news organizations this week, is ‘disgusting smear campaign,’ New Jersey democrat says

Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., denounced as “completely untrue” a forged letter claiming that he was resigning due to an affair with one of his staffers. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Josh Gottheimer has denounced as “completely untrue” a forged resignation letter on official congressional letterhead sent to news organizations this week detailing a scandal between the New Jersey Democrat and one of his staffers.

The letter claims Gottheimer had an affair with the staffer and that the congressman would be resigning immediately and “focusing on my family.”

Modernization panel calls for staffer HR hub, mandatory cybersecurity training
Package of recommendations is ‘really a big deal,’ Graves says

Rep. Tom Graves, the top Republican on the Modernization Select Committee, applauded the bipartisan work to approve two dozen recommendations Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress unanimously approved two dozen recommendations Thursday, urging lawmakers to create a centralized human resources hub for staffers, resurrect the Office of Technology Assessment and make cybersecurity training mandatory.

The recommendations, the second batch for the one-year panel, also included making permanent the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, updating the staff payroll system to semimonthly, creating a Congressional Leadership Academy to train lawmakers and reestablishing the OTA, which would advise Congress on technology matters.

Rep. Davis operative faked student reporter alias to join opponent’s press call
Illinois GOP congressman has had previous issues with campaign staffer crashing opponent’s events

Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis could face a rematch next year with Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated Aug. 1, 2019, 1:36 p.m. | An unpaid political operative working for Rep. Rodney Davis pretended to be a student reporter for a local university newspaper to join a press call hosted by one of the Illinois Republican’s opponents, Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan.

Nick Klitzing, a former executive director of the Illinois GOP and campaign staffer for former Gov. Bruce Rauner, created the alias “Jim Sherman,” a (nonexistent) student journalist from the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, in order to join the call held last Wednesday, July 17, Central Illinois CBS affiliate WCIA reported.

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.