congressional-affairs

Charlie Palmer Steak, Men’s Wearhouse – When PACs Pick Up Lawmaker Tabs
Report: Congress members and Candidates spend megabucks in predictable places

Charlie Palmer’s, a white-tablecloth steakhouse steps from the Senate office building, was the favorite D.C. dining destination for politicians using money from leadership PACs, according to a watchdog report. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Want to know how to live like a Washington insider? You could do worse than peruse the latest report on improper spending in Congress. 

One takeaway: From dining to hotels to shopping, D.C. politicians do not opt for adventure, at least when someone else is paying the tab. 

Rick Nolan Retained Staffer on Campaign Payroll After Harassment Allegations
Three former female employees have alleged former legislative director Jim Swiderski sexually harassed them

Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., above, retained former legislative director Jim Swiderski on his campaign payroll in 2015 even after Swiderski resigned from his congressional office amid sexual misconduct allegations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Just months after dismissing his top legislative aide in 2015 for multiple allegations of sexual harassment, Rep. Rick Nolan hired the aide to work on his 2016 re-election campaign.

Three former women employees for the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor congressman told MinnPost, which originally reported this story, that Nolan’s legislative director, Jim Swiderski, repeatedly harassed — and in some cases groped — them in the early- and mid-2010s.

White House Says It Won’t Let Russia Interrogate Americans
Senate voted Thursday to approve measure rejecting the idea

The Monday summit between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin continued to roil the world, including a kerfuffle over whether the administration was considering allowing former Ambassador Michael McFaul to be interrogated by the Russians. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Updated 3:19 p.m. | Facing an intense backlash, including from Congress, the White House on Thursday announced it does not plan to have allow any current or former U.S. officials to be questioned by the Russian government, part of an ongoing — and often clumsy — effort to recover from President Donald Trump’s Monday summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“It is a proposal that was made in sincerity by President Putin, but President Trump disagrees with it,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “Hopefully President Putin will have the 12 identified Russians come to the United States to prove their innocence or guilt.”

Pence Again Presses McCaskill on Coming Supreme Court Vote
Heckler interrupts VP in St. Louis over migrant family separation

Vice President Mike Pence enters the room earlier this month as Sen. James Inhofe, right, conducts a meeting after a Senate GOP policy luncheon in the Capitol. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Vice President Mike Pence returned to Missouri Thursday to again campaign against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and raise money for her opponent, pressuring her to support President Donald Trump’s second Supreme Court nominee.

“If Claire won’t vote to confirm a judge like Brett Kavanaugh, you need to vote to give Missouri a senator who will,” Pence said in St. Louis of the solidly conservative D.C. Circuit appellate judge.

Democrats Push Senate to Take Legal Action Backing Pre-existing Condition Protections
McCaskill and Manchin among leaders of the effort

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., shakes hands with Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who is also running for U.S. Senate, before the start of the Ripley 4th of July Grand Parade in Ripley, West Virginia on July 4. The two men are on opposite sides of a debate over pre-existing conditions that could become a part of their campaigns. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 3:15 p.m. | In a possible preview of Senate Democrats’ midterm political messaging, Democratic senators want the chamber to go to court to defend health insurance protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Two of the Democrats leading the effort face Republican challengers in 2018 who have signed on to the legal effort that could undermine the regulations from the 2010 health care law: state attorneys general in Missouri, Josh Hawley, and West Virginia, Patrick Morrisey.

Trump-Putin II? President Teases Second Meeting Amid Confusion
POTUS on EU fine of Google: ‘I told you so!’

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive for a joint press conference after their summit on Monday in Helsinki, Finland. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Thursday indicated he and Russian President Vladimir Putin soon could have a second meeting, even as the confusing fallout continues from their initial summit.

Lawmakers from both parties are perplexed by Trump’s behavior Monday at the Putin summit, including a joint press conference during which he sided with the Russian strongman over U.S. intelligence agencies. Senators are, for instance, preparing legislation that would slap new sanctions on Russia if U.S. spy agencies conclude the Kremlin meddles in the coming midterm elections.

Jordan Met with Ohio State Investigators This Week
House GOP colleagues have defended him against allegations he ignored abuse as assistant wrestling coach

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, met with investigators Monday as part of their probe into allegations of sexual abuse by former Ohio State University athletics department doctor Richard Strauss. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Jim Jordan met Monday with investigators who are probing allegations of rampant sexual abuse of former Ohio State University athletes by former athletics department doctor Richard Strauss, his office confirmed.

Before the Ohio Republican and founder of the conservative House Freedom Caucus entered politics he was an assistant wrestling coach at OSU from 1986 to 1994.

Rep. Maxine Waters Warns Supporters Not to Confront Militia Group
Oath Keepers, an armed far-right group, plans to protest Waters for weeks in her California district

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., urged her supporters to stay away from the Oath Keepers, a far right armed group that is planning a protest at her Los Angeles office on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Maxine Waters of California warned her supporters not to be baited into a confrontation with a a far-right militia group planning a protest at her South-Central Los Angeles office Thursday.

The Oath Keepers, which claims 35,000 members who often dress in military gear and carry military-grade rifles at protests and events across the country, issued a “call to action” for Thursday to protest Waters’ “incitement of terrorism” and Democrats’ opposition to Republican immigration policies.

At Trump White House, One Russia Controversy Breeds Another
What did POTUS mean? No one is sure, but he declares Putin summit a ‘success’

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., center, was among those who were confused by the president’s statements about Russia on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump White House on Wednesday returned to a familiar pattern, fighting through multiple self-imposed controversies and confusing even its own allies.

President Donald Trump didn’t personally walk anything back, unlike on Tuesday. He left the mopping up to his top spokeswoman a day after he — in a rare move — admitted a mistake by amending one word of a 45-minute Finland press conference with Vladimir Putin that rattled both Democratic and Republican lawmakers.

The Great Outdoors Threatened by a Funding Battle
Congress is divided on reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund

Stony Man Trail, part of the Appalachian Trail, winds through Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. The $887 billion outdoor recreational economy is a massive economic engine for rural areas. (Courtesy National Park Service)

Sen. Richard M. Burr’s sinking of the $14 billion rescissions package last month was not about saving the Energy Department loan guarantee program or children’s health care contingency funding — which represented the vast majority of the money on the chopping block.

The North Carolina Republican voted against the package because it would rescind $16 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund — which represented approximately 0.1 percent of all the funding in the bill.