Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 31, 2014

October 31, 2014

Trey Radel Sheds Coke Charges

Disgraced former Rep. Trey Radel has managed to keep his nose clean. So authorities have gone ahead and made that whole nasty cocaine business disappear.

Trey Radel Sheds Coke Charges

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Per various Sunshine State news outlets, the Florida Republican has had his record expunged following the completion of a nearly yearlong probationary period stemming from his fall 2013 arrest for possession of a controlled substance.

Radel briefly flirted with the idea of serving out the remainder of his first term, but wound up up throwing in the towel after it became painfully obvious he was persona non grata on Capitol Hill.

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George Clinton Up to Get Down With D.C. This Weekend

George Clinton Up to Get Down With D.C. This Weekend

Dr. Funkenstein’s in the house. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images Entertainment File Photo)

Singer, bandleader and newly minted author George Clinton is scheduled to crisscross Chocolate City over the next few days, starting with an under-the-radar trip to the Library of Congress.

As part of the ongoing celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act, various professional organizations — including members of the Library of Congress Chapter of Blacks in Government, the African American Cultural Association, the American Folklife Center at the LOC and the Music Division at the LOC — have invited the Godfather of Funk to chat about his book, “Brothers Be, Yo Like George, Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard on You?” and decades-long musical career.

“Since this program is a sponsored by staff organizations, we have not advertised to the public. However, public wishing to attend the program will not be turned away,” LCBIG President Michele Chisholm assured HOH.

Dr. Funkenstein is expected on stage of the Coolidge Auditorium of the Thomas Jefferson Building from noon to 1 p.m. Per organizers, “House of Soul” host James Funk will interview him for a bit before bowing out so folks can line up for autographs. Full story

October 30, 2014

Jared Polis Completes Jury Duty

Rep. Jared Polis has now, officially, sat in judgment of his fellow man. The verdict: Jury duty is A-OK.

Jared Polis Completes Jury Duty

(Courtesy Jared Polis)

The Colorado Democrat Tuesday got tapped to report to Boulder County Court. He spent Wednesday hashing out the particulars of the assigned case — a minor dust-up involving ownership of a dangerous animal — with his fellow panelists.

“All of the jury members were very thoughtful, and we were unanimous in our verdict,” Polis said in an email about his vote to acquit the pet owner in question.

The sequester-free experience marked Polis’ inaugural visit to a jury box. “For all six of us, it was our first time,” he noted.

Although his schedule was predictably full (something about an election next week … ), Polis appears to have emerged from the brief stint ever-appreciative of democracy in general.

“Serving on a jury is one of those things like voting; it’s a responsibility of citizenship. Even when it’s not convenient, it’s our responsibility to our justice system and to our country,” he said via email. “It was an honor to be able to serve, even though it came at a very challenging time.”

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October 29, 2014

Vote for Your Favorite Trick or Treat Capitol Quip!

Vote for Your Favorite Trick or Treat Capitol Quip!

The five finalists for this week’s caption contest are ready for your votes.

Using the comments section below, vote for your favorite caption until 5 p.m. Eastern Thursday.

Here are this week’s finalists:

  • Getting the R’s and D’s to work together would be a trick AND a treat.
  • I hear they won’t answer the door if you’re dressed as President Obama.
  • The really spooky stuff happens after November 4.
  • Don’t bother, the only thing working in that house is the lights!
  • Be careful — last year, the guy with the orange face dropped a pack of Camel Lights into my bag!

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on Nov. 2 and in the following print edition of Roll Call. The contest winner will receive a signed color print of his or her Capitol Quip cartoon from the cartoonist, R.J. Matson.

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By Rebecca Gale Posted at 3:19 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Medium Rare Brings Fried Turkey Service to Barracks Row

Medium Rare founder Mark Bucher is importing a holiday tradition to Capitol Hill: staff will fry up — for free — any turkeys folks brought by his new(ish) Barracks Row location on Thanksgiving morning.

Bucher says he instituted the neighborly program back in 2008, and explained he has followed through with the meal-making assistance virtually every year since, though he noted he “took last year off.” His best showing so far: 120 birds dunked in a single day.

“We’re going to save people from burning down their house or going to the emergency room,” Bucher told Fox DC about his self-styled community service. This year’s deep-frying fest is scheduled to take place on Nov. 27 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Full story

Two Randolph-Macon College Professors Walk Into a Debate …

The two Randolph-Macon College professors running for Virginia’s 7th District did their best Tuesday night to make sure their workplace knew they didn’t want to be there anymore.

Dave Brat, an economics professor and the surprise Republican primary winner who beat former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor this June debated with his academic colleague, Democrat Jack Trammell, an associate professor of sociology at the campus they’ve toiled together at for more than a decade.

“I see many familiar faces” here, Trammell said in his closing remarks before adding, “I miss this place [but] I’m hoping I’m not coming back.” It was sentiment echoed by Brat, that he hoped any return to the college would be as a congressman, not a professor. Randolph-Macon President Robert Lindgren said whoever loses would be welcomed back. That will likely be Trammell, as the race is rated as Safe Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

The mostly-academic tone of the debate touched on taxes, health care, immigration and the minimum wage. So much so that Brat razzed Trammell that: “If I had him in class, I’d give him an ethics paper and send him to the dean.”

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Convicted Murderer Endorses Lee Terry

Convicted Murderer Endorses Lee Terry

Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Vulnerable Rep. Lee Terry received an emphatic endorsement Wednesday, but the Nebraska Republican is not likely to tout this show of support on the campaign trail any time soon.

KMTV in Omaha, Neb., reported that at a hearing to examine his competency, convicted murderer Nikko Jenkins shouted, “Vote Lee Terry guys, greatest Republican ever.”

The irony of Jenkins’ statement is that the National Republican Campaign Committee released an ad last week attempting to link Jenkins to the Democratic nominee, state Sen. Brad Ashford.

Jenkins killed four people after he was released from jail early, and the NRCC attempted to tie Ashford’s support of the so-called “good time law” to the murders. “Brad Ashford supported the good time law and still defends it, allowing criminals like Nikko Jenkins to be released early,” the ad’s narrator said.

Terry is struggling to keep his seat as he faces questions about statements he made during the partial government shutdown in 2013. A recent Democratic poll showed Terry trailing Ashford. The Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rates this race a Tossup.

Related:

NRCC Throws Hail Mary in Nebraska House Race (Video)

New Poll Shows Lee Terry Still Trailing

Meet the House Republican Still Sweating the Shutdown

A Good Year May Not Save These Three Vulnerable House Republicans

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By Bridget Bowman Posted at 12:46 p.m.
Reps

Ohio Natives Stump for James Traficant Flick

C-SPAN’s most prominent space cadet may be gone. But a handful of still-spellbound Ohioans — including Rep. Tim Ryan — simply cannot stop talking about larger-than-life former lawmaker James A. Traficant Jr.

Ohio Natives Stump for James Traficant Flick

Traficant (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Fledgling filmmaker Eric Murphy attempts to deconstruct the unbelievable life of the late Ohio Democrat in his evolving documentary, “Traficant: The Congressman of Crimetown.”

The long-running project, which Murphy hatched roughly half a decade ago, aims to shine a light on the two mindboggling chapters of Traficant’s career: His meteoric rise as the mob-baiting sheriff of Youngstown, Ohio, who later beat an FBI-led bribery sting, followed by his arrival on Capitol Hill and subsequent fall from grace due to a fresh set of corruption charges.

Murphy has taken to Kickstarter to raise the capital required to sew up the mostly finished flick (he wants to add music and do some polishing); with over a month to go on his fundraising campaign, Murphy is more than half-way toward reaching the $17,500 goal posted online. Full story

October 28, 2014

Massive Senate Campaign Reports Slow Down FEC (Updated)

Updated 3:47 p.m. | If you’ve been searching through Senate campaign finance reports recently, you’ve probably noticed an unusual message at the top of the Federal Election Commission website.

In bright red text, the FEC cautions visitors that there is a delay in posting third-quarter campaign reports for Senate candidates because the reports, submitted on paper, are larger than usual.

“Total page numbers far exceed all previous election cycles, and the Senate Public Records Office is continuing to process and forward additional campaign reports to the Commission,” the message reads. “FEC staff are processing and posting PDFs of those reports within 48 hours of receipt.” One of the largest reports filed belonged to Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley, who is running for Senate in Iowa. His report amounted to more than 26,000 pages. The FEC posted his third quarter report in six different PDFs.

An FEC spokesman said the commission has posted 138,000 pages of third-quarter reports so far. At this time last cycle, the FEC had processed 96,000 pages, meaning there has been a 45 percent increase in size over the past two years.

The spokesman could not speak to the reason for the sharp increase in size, explaining that a contractor inputs the campaign data into an electronic format. The commission will have to wait until it receives the contractor’s data before it determines the cause of the increase.

The bright red message gracing the website was a proactive step to alert reporters that the FEC was aware of the delay and were working to address it. The FEC is now back to its normal schedule for posting the reports within 48 hours of receiving the files from the Senate Office of Public Records.

Senate candidates are required to file paper reports, so they mail them to the public records office, which then scans the paper report and sends it to the FEC, where staff transfers the file into a PDF. The deadline for the third quarter reports was Oct. 15.

“Reporters and other members of the public were looking for reports that had not been posted,” the FEC said in a statement to CQ Roll Call. “It seemed expedient to explain why. This is the first time that the FEC has received such a large volume of pages in Senate paper filings in a reporting period, which has caused the delay. Our normal practice is to post PDFs of all paper-filed reports within 48 hours of receipt at the Commission, and we met that goal in the vast majority of cases. Bear in mind that third-quarter Senate filings are still arriving at the FEC, along with pre-general reports covering more recent activity. ”

Correction 5:24 p.m.

An earlier version of this post misstated the options senators have when filing their FEC reports.

Related:

2014 Senate Chart: Third-Quarter Reports

Third-Quarter Fundraising Reports: House Races to Watch

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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October 27, 2014

Cedric Richmond Has ‘Every Intention’ of Pitching Next Year

Cedric Richmond Has Every Intention of Pitching Next Year

Richmond on the mound in 2013. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Despite impending shoulder surgery, Rep. Cedric L. Richmond, D-La., said he plans to return to the mound for next year’s Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game and help Democrats hold onto the coveted Roll Call Trophy.

“I do have every intention of pitching in next year’s game,” Richmond said in a phone interview Monday.

The Louisiana Democrat said the surgery to repair a torn labrum, or joint cartilage, and bone spurs in his right shoulder will take place in New Orleans the week after the elections.

But Richmond said if the doctor says he will not be able to play in the annual summer game, he will postpone the surgery to after the 2015 game, giving him an entire year to recover.

Richmond said pitchers typically take a year to rehabilitate from the surgery before pitching again but he was optimistic that he could recover in six months, considering he only pitches once a year.

Richmond helped the Democrats beat Republicans 15-6 by pitching each inning during the game this past June, but he was fighting through pain in his shoulder. His teammates were aware he was struggling, but Richmond said he never discussed heading to the bench. Shoulder pain has plagued him for at least the past three years, but, after this year, enough was enough.

“I’ve been pitching in pain, but it was just unbearable after this past year,” he said.

Though Richmond was adamant he would pitch again next year, he said Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., would be able to fill his cleats on the pitcher’s mound if necessary.

But Richmond plans to return to Nationals Park in June. “I just like the game,” he said, noting that the event also benefits local charities. Richmond also said the game is an opportunity to form bipartisan bonds and boost Democratic morale.

“Although the Republicans control the House,” said Richmond, “this is a great way to build relationships across the aisle and at the same time keep my Democratic friends excited.”

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Cedric Richmond’s Pitching Arm Threatened by Shoulder Surgery

Cedric Richmonds Pitching Arm Threatened by Shoulder Surgery

Richmond will have surgery after Election Day. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic baseball star Cedric L. Richmond will undergo surgery after Election Day to repair torn cartilage in his right shoulder, threatening the golden pitching arm that has led the Democrats to victory since his first Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game.

The Times-Picayune reported the surgery Monday as part of an interview with the Louisiana congressman, who said he could not lift his arm for two weeks after this year’s game.

“I suspect some Republicans are going to be excited when they see me walking around in a sling,” Richmond told the Times-Picayune. The surgery is set for some time after Election Day.

Richmond pitched the entire night in the 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game, helping the Democrats beat their Republican opponents 15-6. Richmond played baseball for Morehouse College and has been a Democratic star since he first took the mound in 2011.

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We Were Told There Would Be No (Fundraising) Math

There’s just a week and a day to go until Election Day, which means we may be able to save our inbox from fundraising spam hell in just a few short days.

Although HOH tries desperately to pay politics no mind, activists from across the ideological spectrum continuously flood our email (just like yours) with panic-ridden pleas for just enough cash to save a candidate from professional doom if we just ACT NOW!

This year’s midterm elections are shaping up to be a down-to-the-wire contest, with control of the Senate very much in play. A potential downgrade to minority status has a handful of Senate Democrats on high alert, perhaps none more so than Mark Pryor. Full story

October 26, 2014

Trick or Treat, Congress? | Capitol Quip

Trick or Treat, Congress? | Capitol Quip

Halloween and the midterm elections are almost upon us. That brings us to this week’s Capitol Quip.

Send us a caption by leaving it in the comments section. Editors will pick five finalists on Wednesday, and everyone can vote for the winner through Thursday.

To see our previous winners, check us out on Pinterest.

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Quarantine These Campaign Ads, Please | Capitol Quip

Quarantine These Campaign Ads, Please | Capitol Quip

Thanks to the many readers who contributed captions for last week’s Capitol Quip contest. Here’s the winning entry, as voted by readers of Heard on the Hill.

The winner will receive a signed color print suitable for framing from Roll Call cartoonist R.J. Matson. Check out our past winners on Pinterest.

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Pete Rose Hustles Into Kentucky Senate Race

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has taken a pass on making a call about one of America’s great sports controversies.

Asked if baseball legend Pete Rose should finally be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Kentucky Republican said, “He’s the Hit King, but I’ll leave it to those who do the voting.”

That’s according to a survey published by the Lexington Herald-Leader, which asked candidates on the ballot about a series of less serious policy questions.

Full story

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