Emily Kopp

Harvard Tradition Agitates Democrats’ Left Wing
Number of lobbyists, not identifying some as such, at orientation for incoming Democrats draws criticism

A prestigious, 50-year-old orientation for new members of Congress at Harvard University predicated on the virtues of bipartisanship and civility has drawn intense criticism this week for the presence of lobbyists and business executives — evidence of the growing influence of the left wing of the Democratic Party that has abstained from corporate PAC money.

Most incoming members of Congress attend the storied Bipartisan Program for Newly Elected Members of Congress, which ran from Tuesday to Thursday. Since 1972, the Harvard Institute of Politics has hosted more than 700 current and former representatives, according to the school’s website.

Sen.-elect Josh Hawley Faces Misuse of Taxpayer Money Investigation
Secretary of state says it will investigate, AG calls allegations ‘meritless’

The Missouri Secretary of State’s office will investigate allegations that incoming Sen. Josh Hawley improperly tapped state resources to boost his public profile ahead of his campaign to unseat Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill

Within days of Hawley becoming the state attorney general, two political consultants based in Washington began instructing his taxpayer-paid staff on how to shape his image ahead of a campaign for the Senate, according to a Kansas City Star report shortly before Election Day.

Congress Lauds Amazon HQ2, But Staffers Worry About Making Rent
An influx of wealth could magnify the city’s housing problems, with big implications for the Hill

Amazon received a warm reception on Capitol Hill when it announced a new major outpost in the Washington area, with senators lauding the online retail giant’s entry just across the Potomac. But privately, some congressional staffers fume that “HQ2” will further escalate rents.

Congressional staffers have already been crushed by stagnating wages and climbing housing costs. And they worry Amazon’s new headquarters will mean they’ll have to allocate a larger chunk of their paycheck to their landlords. Some have taken up second jobs, and anticipate tough decisions about the future.

Ayanna Pressley’s ‘Squad’ Attends Tearful City Council Farewell
Members-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib observed from the gallery

As Rep.-elect Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., bid a touching goodbye to her colleagues on the Boston City Council Wednesday, her fellow members-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., observed from the gallery — a show of kinship between the women of color at the forefront of the Democratic Party’s newly emboldened left flank.

Council members were effusive in their praise of Pressley, who was the first woman of color to be elected to the council in 2009 and has in the years since championed diversifying its makeup. 

Democrats: Campaign Finance Admission Should ‘Disqualify’ Incoming Congressman
Rep.-elect Ross Spano’s Republican primary opponents are outraged, too

Revelations that GOP Rep.-elect Ross Spano violated campaign finance law by taking out personal loans and directing approximately the same amount to his campaign should disqualify him from serving in Congress, Florida Democrats say.

Spano “knew exactly what he was doing when he took personal loans and used them as campaign funds, which is against the law,” Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo said in a statement earlier this week. “This matter needs to be fully investigated, and appropriate actions taken.”

Progressive Groups Crash Historic Harvard Bipartisanship Forum for New Members
Groups are holding an ‘alternative orientation’ outside to challenge ‘middle of the road’ policymaking

A prestigious orientation at Harvard University that has for 50 years coached incoming members of Congress on the values of civility and compromise has for the first time gotten some counter programming from the left. 

Most incoming freshman congressman attend the storied Bipartisan Program for Newly Elected Members of Congress hosted by the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School. Sessions began Tuesday and run through Thursday. Since 1972, Harvard has hosted more than 700 current and former representatives, according to the school’s website.

Rand Paul’s Neighbor Gives Deposition in Civil Suit: ‘I Lost It’
Rene Boucher said he never filed a complaint, but that senator avoided discussions with him

In a five-hour deposition Monday, Sen. Rand Paul’s neighbor described his thinking on the day he tackled the congressman in November of last year over what he says was a dispute over yard waste.

“When I saw him once again, he was off of his mower, taking branches from that one pile and putting them on the property line to intentionally aggravate me. I lost it and became irate,” Rene Boucher said.

Newly Elected Congressman Says He May Have Broken Campaign Finance Law
Incoming Rep. Ross Spano accepted large personal loans during campaign, delayed reporting them

Florida member-elect Ross Spano acknowledged he may have violated campaign finance law and promised to repay $180,000 in personal loans by the end of week in a letter to federal regulators.

The freshman Republican and his lenders now recognize they may have transgressed rules against straw donations “in violation of the Federal Campaign Finance Act,” according to a letter from his attorney to the Federal Election Commission dated Friday and first reported by the Tampa Bay Times.

Incoming Democratic Judiciary Chairman: Walls Are Closing In On Trump
Rep. Jerry Nadler said new developments bring investigators closer to directly implicating the president

The walls have started closing in on President Donald Trump as new revelations emerge in the Russia investigation, the incoming Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said Friday. 

“The president is right to be nervous right now, because it appears that time is running out when he can hold himself above the law,” New York Rep. Jerry Nadler told CNN.

Rep. Ralph Abraham Tiptoes Closer to Louisiana Governor Run
Republican primary might include Sen. John Kennedy too

Louisiana Rep. Ralph Abraham signaled he will likely run for governor next year but stopped short of fully committing to the race.

“If I had to make a decision today, it would be that I was running,” the 5th District Republican said in an interview with the Monroe News Star, pledging to make a final decision by Jan. 1. “The focus always needs to be how Louisiana can be a better place and we just aren’t getting there with the current governor.”

Democrats Developing Strategy to Use Trump’s Words Against Him
While Trump’s MAGA rallies stir up his base, they also give Democrats fodder with moderates and independents

Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith notched a win Tuesday in her special election runoff by tacking closely to President Donald Trump and campaigning with him the day before voters went to the polls, reinvigorating a debate within the Democratic Party about the best way to respond to the president’s freewheeling “Make America Great Again” rallies. 

Hyde-Smith won by 8 points, even after many voters recoiled from her comment that she would be “on the front row” of a “public hanging” if invited by a supporter, and corporate donors publicly requested that she return their contributions. 

Immigration Experts: Tear Gas Has Been Used at the Border for Years, But Never on Children
Obama administration introduced gas then reformed polices; Trump administration now uses it more than ever

The use of tear gas by U.S. authorities on asylum-seekers including small children Sunday builds on a legacy of excessive force at the Southern border, but also represents a reversal of reforms made during former President Barack Obama’s second term toward more humane policies, according to data released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection this week and immigrant rights experts.

Reports of parents and children choking as they ran to escape tear gas at the Mexican border, including a photo of a Honduran mother fleeing the toxic clouds of gas with her twin daughters in each hand, have provoked widespread outrage in recent days.

Democratic Strategists Launch Draft Beto PAC
But Texas progressives want him to run for statewide office again instead of president

Democratic strategists have launched a “Draft Beto 2020” political action committee just days after the Texas congressman first signaled he would be open to a presidential run — the latest sign that the hype around the up-and-comer has not waned since his Election Day defeat.

During his unsuccessful Senate race, O’Rourke vowed that “win or lose” he would not consider a White House bid, but the Texas congressman shifted his position at a town hall in El Paso on Monday. 

Ruppersberger Has Questions About ‘Botched’ Walter Reed Active Shooter Alarm
‘Somebody messed up’ says Maryland rep who sheltered in place while being treated at medical center

A mass alert warning Walter Reed National Military Medical Center about the presence of an active shooter on campus was an error, the U.S. Navy assured the public Tuesday afternoon.

But not before the alert — which the Navy said did not include the words “exercise” or “drill”— sent patients sheltering in back rooms to make tearful calls to loved ones and put security personnel and police on high alert.

Defeated Rep. Bruce Poliquin Calls for Lengthy Ranked Choice Recount
The Maine Republican would be required to personally foot the bill

Ranked-choice voting has a dedicated foe in defeated Rep. Bruce Poliquin

The Maine Republican called for a hand recount of ballots cast in the race for the 2nd District — the first election in the nation to use ranked-choice voting to fill a congressional seat — decrying the software used to allocate voters’ preferences as a “black-box voting system.”

Beto O’Rourke No Longer Ruling Out Presidential Run
But Texas congressman says he’ll take some time to ‘just be human’ before making decision

Beto O’Rourke is no longer ruling out a run for president in 2020.

During his unsuccessful race against Sen. Ted Cruz, O’Rourke said that “win or lose” he would not consider a presidential bid.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez and Successor Announce New PAC to Boost Latino Turnout
Announcement follows reports that Democratic Party was slow to engage Latinos during midterms

Outgoing Illinois Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez and his successor, Rep.-elect Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, will form a political action committee aimed strengthening Latinos’ political clout.

According to a Chicago Tribune report, the Progressive Caucus Democrats will raise money for candidates with strong positions on issues of immigration, affordable housing and poverty, ideally from Latino donors.

Retired Republican Rep: GOP Midterm Woes Due to Weak Oversight of Trump
Former Rep. David Dreier insists GOP-controlled House exerted oversight more forcefully in George W. Bush years

A former Republican congressman chided his own party for losing control of the House, and said it was because it failed to aggressively check the White House.

“Oversight, which is a Constitutionally directed responsibility, is so critically important. And my Republican colleagues did not, I believe, do an adequate enough job,” former California Rep. David Dreier said in a local television interview.

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith’s Corporate Donors Want Their Money Back
Companies say contributions made before lynching comments became public; law makes that unlikely

Half a dozen corporations have asked Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith to reimburse their contributions to her runoff campaign.

The companies have been under intense scrutiny in recent days for their financial support of the senator in the wake of her remark that she would be “on the front row” of a “public hanging” at a campaign stop earlier this month. The NAACP has said her comments evoke Mississippi’s bloody history of lynchings. 

Indicted Rep. Chris Collins Declares Victory
‘Enough condolences,’ Nate McMurray tells supporters. ‘You’d think I was indicted and going to jail or something’

Indicted New York Republican Rep. Chris Collins declared victory Tuesday night in his bid to hold onto his Buffalo-area district.

“Congressman Collins has already returned to work and looks forward to continuing to do the work of the people of the 27th District,” Collins campaign spokeswoman Natalie Baldassarre said in a statement.