congressional-staffers

Duncan Hunter pleads guilty to conspiracy to misuse campaign funds
Hunter faced 60 counts, most of which will be dismissed

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of conspiring to use campaign funds for personal expenses. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of conspiring with his wife, Margaret, to knowingly and willfully convert his campaign funds for personal expenditures.

He faces a maximum of five years in prison; a maximum $250,000 fine; and a maximum of three years supervised release. 

Staffers gripe about lack of communication during Capitol lockdown
House sergeant-at-arms acknowledges missteps regarding suspicious aircraft incident

Staffers are criticizing the lack of response from the Capitol Police amid Tuesday’s lockdown (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After reports of a possible aircraft in restricted airspace over Washington on Tuesday, U.S. Capitol Police halted access to Capitol grounds. But a lack of communication left staffers confused and in the dark.

Although the lockdown lasted nearly 50 minutes and was “cleared without incident,” according to a Capitol Police statement, several staffers relied on social media and word of mouth for information.

‘The Report’ has advice for young Capitol Hill staffers
You never know where you’ll cross paths again in Washington

Denis McDonough, center, who was a top aide to Sen. Tom Daschle and later White House chief of staff, provided valuable career advice to former Senate Intelligence staffer Daniel J. Jones, both in real life and in the movie “The Report.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The movie “The Report” is primarily about the CIA’s torture program, but it’s not without a bit of career advice for young congressional aides.

One of the oldest lessons in Washington, D.C., is that you never know where you are going to run into people later in their careers.

Tim Ryan was once a star quarterback, with Congress as his backup
Ohio Democrat recalls how he got his start on Capitol Hill

Before he was a congressman, Ohio’s Tim Ryan was an intern and a staff assistant for his predecessor, Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Tim Ryan “caught the bug” for Congress first as a summer intern in 1994 and then as a staff assistant the following year for a fellow Ohioan, the late and colorful Democratic Rep. James A. Traficant Jr.

He recalls meeting Traficant during his senior year in high school, when Ryan was the star quarterback of his team. The two bonded over their football experiences. Ryan was recruited to play for Youngstown State, but an injury cut short his college football career. 

GOP ‘storm the SCIF’ stunt could jeopardize classified briefings
Bipartisan memo warns lawmakers of consequences for them and the House

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., speaks during a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center outside a deposition related to the House impeachment inquiry on Oct. 23, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Ethics Committee responded this week to efforts by House Republicans to access the secure facility in the basement of the Capitol during a closed-door impeachment deposition on Oct. 23, issuing a memo about breaches of security and warning lawmakers of potential consequences.

The memo, dated Thursday, reminds lawmakers that all members and staff who have access to classified information take an oath to not disclose any such information and that access to classified information and secure areas are on a “need to know” basis.

House leaders give modernization panel more time
A second year of work ahead for committee that seeks to make Congress more efficient

Chairman Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., right, and vice chairman Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., are seen during a Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress meeting in the Capitol in March. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Like most any fixer-upper endeavor, renovating Congress for the modern era will take at least a year longer than originally planned.

The House’s temporary Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress is on track to get more time to finish its effort to update the legislative branch amid the increasing political polarization of the 2020 elections. The House Rules Committee approved a rule Wednesday extending the modernization panel through next year. The full chamber voted Thursday, making the extension official.

Senate and Marines begin Christmas toy drive for disadvantaged kids
Annual Toys for Tots drive runs until Dec. 4

Sens. Jon Tester of Montana, left, and Johnny Isakson of Georgia during last year’s toy drive. (Courtesy U.S. Office of Senate Photography)

The Senate is teaming up with the U.S. Marines for its annual mission to provide Christmas toys for disadvantaged children during the holiday season.

The chamber on Tuesday night unanimously approved a resolution introduced by Sens. Johnny Isakson of Georgia and Jon Tester of Montana that allows the Senate to collect toys for the Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots drive.

How a Capitol Hill staffer and a James Bond screenwriter dramatized ‘The Report’
Political Theater, Episode 101

Journalists follow Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein as she leaves her office on her way to the chamber floor to speak about the CIA torture report being released by the committee on on Dec. 9, 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report in 2014 was a compelling episode in American history, detailing as it did the CIA’s use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques on suspected terrorists and their lack of effectiveness. That doesn’t mean the seven-year investigation that led to the report automatically lends itself to high drama, particularly when one considers that many of those seven years were spent reading sensitive CIA documents in a windowless room. That makes the new movie “The Report” that much more of an accomplishment.

Director and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns had his work cut out for him, constructing a political thriller out of the efforts led by Intelligence Committee staffer Daniel J. Jones. Burns and Jones explained some of thinking that went into the film’s narrative, as well as the issues it explores, in the latest Political Theater podcast with CQ Roll Call senior staff writer Niels Lesniewski and me. 

Saga is not over for Katie Hill’s office, staff and constituents
California Democrat announced resignation plans over the weekend

California Democratic Rep. Katie Hill is resigning after just nearly nine months in office. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Timing, even in resignations, is everything.

Rep. Katie Hill has announced she will resign from the House, but the timing of her exit will determine a range of next steps — including her staffers’ future plans, how her constituents will be served in her absence and even her final paycheck.

Katie Hill pledges fight against revenge porn

Rep. Katie Hill speaks at a press conference outside of the Capitol in June. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Katie Hill addressed supporters in a video posted to her campaign's YouTube account, for the first time since announcing her resignation Sunday. Hill, D-Calif., said that she will “fight to ensure no one else has to live through what [she] just experienced.”

She said that her decision to step down from her seat after being the victim of what she characterized as “electronic assault” or “digital exploitation,” noting that some call it “revenge porn,” has been the “most difficult decision” of her life.