Tips and calls to the Office of Congressional Ethics spiked last session
More than 13,300 private citizens reached out to group charged with reviewing misconduct allegations

Incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi receives the gavel from outgoing House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy in January. The pair announced Office of Congressional Ethics appointees for the 116th Congress on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Citizen outreach to the Office of Congressional Ethics more than doubled in the 115th Congress, but the agency’s pre-election blackout period means they didn’t take action on any cases in the last quarter of 2018.

More than 13,300 private citizens contacted the Office of Congressional Ethics during the 115th Congress, up from 6,285 in the 114th Congress, according to the OCE’s most recent quarterly report. The contacts fall into two categories: allegations of misconduct and requests for information about the OCE.

‘I didn’t get a thank you’ for approving John McCain’s funeral, Trump says
President’s economic speech in Ohio becomes political rally — with tanks

President Donald Trump pauses to talk with journalists Wednesday as he departs the White House for a trip to Ohio. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS — President Donald Trump went to Ohio to deliver an economic message. Instead, as always, a political rally broke out — this time, in front of military tanks.

He already was in quite a mood Wednesday afternoon as he approached reporters awaiting his departure on the White House’s South Lawn, declaring that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report is being written “out of the blue.”

Isakson defends McCain after Trump attacks, but still doesn't support renaming Russell
Isakson says Schumer is playing politics with effort to rename Russell building after the Arizona Republican

Chairman Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., left, shakes hands with Disabled American Veterans National Commander Dennis Nixon before the start of the Joint Hearing of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees to receive the legislative presentation of the Disabled American Veterans on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Veterans Affairs Chairman Johnny Isakson is leading Republicans speaking out again against President Donald Trump’s bashing of the late Sen. John McCain, but the Georgia Republican reiterated Wednesday that he will not be joining the effort to put McCain’s name on the office building currently named for a favorite son of his home state.

“Lack of respect I would say is the right word,” Isakson said on Georgia Public Broadcasting’s Political Rewind referring to Trump’s latest criticism of McCain.

White House hasn’t provided ‘a single piece of paper’ to Oversight, despite 12 requests
Chair Elijah Cummings accuses Trump officials of ‘an unprecedented level of stonewalling, delay and obstruction’

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, wrote in an op-ed Tuesday that the White House is engaged in “an unprecedented level of stonewalling, delay and obstruction.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

One of the top House Democratic investigators accused President Donald Trump’s White House on Tuesday of engaging in “an unprecedented level of stonewalling, delay and obstruction.” 

House Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah Cummings wrote in a Washington Post op-ed that, despite sending a dozen letters to administration officials, the White House has not complied with the committee’s oversight probes, or made any employees available for interviews. 

Cory Booker explains why he is a reluctant filibuster warrior
The Democratic presidential hopeful might prefer to use budget reconciliation

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Presidential candidate and Sen. Cory Booker may have inched toward supporting elimination of the legislative filibuster, but the New Jersey Democrat shouldn’t expect the questions to stop.

In an interview for Wednesday’s episode of the “Pod Save America” podcast, Booker expanded on his long-held reservations about changing the Senate rules allowing contentious legislation to advance without needing 60 votes to get past procedural hurdles.

‘The River and the Wall,’ a journey down the wall’s path
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 62

Ben Masters, director of "The River and the Wall," right, discusses his movie about the Rio Grande and the immigration and border issues around it with Political Theater Podcast host Jason Dick. (Nathan Ouellette/CQ Roll Call)

Trump: Mueller report illegitimate, because special counsel was not elected
President says ‘I don’t mind’ if Justice Department releases former FBI chief’s findings

President Donald Trump waves as he walks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to his motorcade at the Capitol after the annual Friends of Ireland Luncheon on Thursday, March 14, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 1:14 p.m. | President Donald Trump on Wednesday took direct aim at special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, saying his coming report is illegitimate because he was not elected by the American people.

“No collusion, no collusion. It’s interesting that a man gets appointed by a deputy he writes a report. Never figured that one out,” Trump said mockingly.

This Republican plans to lash out at Trump over his attacks on John McCain
Georgia Republican Johnny Isakson will reportedly speak out against the treatment of McCain months after his death

Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., is not happy with President Donald Trump’s continued criticism of the late Sen. John McCain. (Bill Clark/Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Johnny Isakson is fed up with President Donald Trump’s continued criticism levied at the late Sen. John McCain

The Georgia Republican, who is chairman of the Senate Veteran Affairs Committee, will reportedly speak out against the President’s treatment of the McCain months after his death, The Bulwark reported Tuesday.

Trump's 2020 budget seeks 7 percent rise in Secret Service funding for 2020 campaign
The budget summary says it seeks to hire 177 additional special agents, officers and professional staff for the agency

A Secret Service agent wipes down a presidential limousine on Inauguration Day 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump's fiscal 2020 budget proposal seeks $2.3 billion to fund the U.S. Secret Service, an increase of 7 percent over the estimated spending for 2019 and some 15 percent above actual spending for 2018, according to budget documents released this week.

Much of the extra money in discretionary budget authority would go to protecting presidential candidates during the 2020 campaign and for the two national political conventions, plus hiring more agents, and more money for research and development and "protective equipment and technology." 

Cybersecurity budget up 5 percent in 2020, White House says
The total request of $17.4 billion for fiscal 2020 compares with $16.6 billion the administration sought in 2019

Copies of President Donald Trump’s budget for Fiscal Year 2020 are prepared for distribution at the Government Publishing Office in Washington on March 7, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House is seeking a 4.7 percent boost in cybersecurity spending across all federal agencies for fiscal year 2020 with the Pentagon and the State Department getting the largest increases, according to details of the request released this week.

The total request of $17.4 billion for fiscal 2020 compares with $16.6 billion the administration sought in 2019. The Pentagon is seeking $9.6 billion or a 10.4 percent increase, and State is seeking $400 million or a 10.2 percent increase. The Justice Department is asking for a 7 percent increase in fiscal year 2020 for a total of $881 million.

Former Delta pilot named to lead FAA as Chao seeks Max 8 audit
The agency faces questions about its handling of the Boeing 737 Max plane, involved in two catastrophic crashes

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao is escorted into her chair by R.D. James, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, before a Senate Environment and Public Works Senate Committee in Dirksen Building titled “The Administration’s Framework for Rebuilding Infrastructure in America” on March 01, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Delta Air Lines executive and pilot Stephen M. Dickson was nominated Tuesday to take over as administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, an agency facing questions about its handling of the Boeing 737 Max plane involved in two catastrophic overseas crashes.

Also on Tuesday, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said she had asked the department’s inspector general to conduct a formal audit of the certification process for the 737 Max 8.

House GOP is down to 13 women. Will North Carolina special elections boost their ranks?
Of the 27 Republicans running in 3rd or 9th districts, seven are women

Women listen to candidate Donald Trump at a 2016 rally in Raleigh, N.C. Seven GOP women are running in the North Carolina special elections this year. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

With two special elections in North Carolina this year, Republicans have a chance to send to Congress some company for West Virginia Rep. Carol Miller, the only female GOP lawmaker in the House freshman class.

The number of Republican women in the chamber is at a new low with just 13 in the 116th Congress, down from 23 the previous session. About 100 GOP women ran for the House in the 2018 cycle, but many of them struggled to get through primaries. 

Navy routinely buys defective ships
Former shipbuilding executive: “There’s an old adage: ‘A ship so nice, we built it twice’”

The newest Littoral Combat Ship, the USS St. Louis, is launched in Wisconsin in December. The LCS class has been bogged down by defects. (Courtesy U.S. Navy)

For the U.S. Navy, buying warships that are defective, unfinished or both has become the norm.

The habit is expensive, dangerous and leaves overworked sailors to deal with faulty ships in need of repair from day one — yet it has escaped sufficient scrutiny in Washington.

This isn’t Nancy Pelosi’s first impeachment rodeo
With their quest to impeach Trump, Democrats are only hurting themselves. The speaker understands this, even if many in her party don’t

Nancy Pelosi watched Republicans struggle to oust Bill Clinton back in the day. She’s trying to avoid a repeat, Winston writes. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — Almost 21 years ago, on Sept. 9, 1998, I was in a room at the Library of Congress at a Republican House leadership meeting as they discussed the fall legislative agenda that would lead up to the congressional elections, less than two months away. The country was already divided as partisans took to their corners over the Lewinsky scandal and the possible impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

Everyone was anticipating that the Starr report might be released in the next couple of days. As I stood next to a wall, I looked out over the long table where the leadership members were seated, with most of the senior leadership staff sitting along the far wall with the windows behind them. It was then that I saw two vans pull up in front of the Capitol. As 36 boxes of reports were unloaded, a Pandora’s box called impeachment opened and I remember thinking, “Everything is about to change.” And it did.