Katherine Tully-McManus

Russell Building Evacuated After Fire
Saturday night incident under investigation, building still closed Sunday

Fire and smoke in the Russell Senate Office Building prompted an evacuation Saturday night. The building remains closed Sunday morning.

Capitol Police and the Architect of the Capitol personnel are conducting an investigation and all other personnel will be restricted from entering the building.

The Ethics Nightmare Before Christmas
Whatever you do, don’t eat the pizza

December can be a minefield for members of Congress and staff trying to celebrate, socialize and not step over the line. With the holiday season already well underway, inboxes are strewn with invitations, and booze and gifts lie in wait at every turn.

Whatever you do, don’t eat the pizza. At parties around Washington, it’s not the calories that count — it’s whether the food and drink comply with strict ethical guidelines.

House Could Go Its Own Way on Sexual Harassment Policy, Says Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi has a plan to move forward on the proposals to overhaul sexual harassment policies on Capitol Hill before year’s end, but House Republicans say they’re still working on a strong compromise. Senators, meanwhile, are looking past negotiations and toward getting a final bill passed.

The House minority leader signaled Thursday that House negotiators may be willing to accept some of the Senate language that they’ve been rejecting for being less stringent. 

Low Pay (or No Pay) on Capitol Hill Hits Two New York Democrats
Chuck Schumer and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez faced two sides of the issue

Updated 12/7/18 at 9:17 a.m. |  New York Democrats faced intern and staff pay issues on Capitol Hill when Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer posted an unpaid internship opening and Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio Cortez talked with staffers moonlighting at a D.C. dive to make ends meet.

Schumer’s office posted an unpaid internship opening on the official site for Senate job opportunities that quickly drew criticism on Twitter.

Staff Testimony and Report Released In Ethics Case Against Rep. Thomas Garrett
Virginia Republican announced in May he would be leaving Congress to confront his excessive drinking

The Office of Congressional Ethics released its report on allegations against  Rep. Thomas Garrett Tuesday, including testimony from staffers past and present.  The House Ethics Committee announced that it is continuing its own inquiry, but has not yet impaneled an investigative subcommittee.

The House Ethics panel began the inquiry into the outgoing Virginia Republican on June 8 and received a referral from the Office of Congressional Ethics on Sept. 5 and extended the inquiry in late September.

Clock Ticks Down on Sexual Harassment Proposals for Congress
#MeToo provided momentum earlier in the year, but that has stalled

Congress is running out of time to make changes to how sexual harassment is handled in its own workplace, as negotiations between House and Senate proposals drag on and legislative days dry up.

Leaders in both chambers say they want to finish reconciling the legislation and move toward implementing change before the lame-duck session is over, but it’s unclear if that will happen.

Exiting Lawmakers Retain Parking Access and Other Congressional Perks
Customs, courtesies and Congress

Don’t worry, outgoing members can still snag prime Hill parking spots.

Following the lame-duck session, lawmakers exiting Congress in January will retain some member privileges, fitness center access, some postage rights, and parking among them. But there are limitations, especially for former lawmakers that take lobbying gigs.

Campaign Aide to Rep. Robert Brady Found Guilty on 9 Counts
Feds secure conviction on fraud spread over multiple election cycles

A federal jury found Rep. Robert Brady’s top political strategist, Kenneth Smukler, guilty on nine counts of breaking campaign finance laws and obstructing a Federal Election Commission investigation.

The jury found Smukler guilty of conspiracy to violate federal law, making and causing unlawful campaign contributions and causing false statements to the FEC in connection with a 2012 congressional primary campaign in a Philadelphia-area congressional district.

[Correction] Violence Against Women Act Extension Included in Latest Spending Proposal

Corrected 6:30 p.m. | Despite indications earlier Monday that the Violence Against Women Act would not be extended as part of the two-week continuing resolution, the stopgap funding measure would indeed extend VAWA until at least Dec. 21. 

This means the landmark domestic violence law will not lapse for the second time in 25 years.

House Cancels Votes, Senate Postpones for Bush Ceremonies
Send-off for former president scrambles calendar and changes calculation of shutdown politics

The House has canceled all votes for the week and the Senate has postponed votes until after the Wednesday funeral of former President George H.W. Bush.

House lawmakers were scheduled to vote on 14 bills under suspension of the rules this week, in addition to the farm bill conference report and a fiscal 2019 spending package. Current funding for nine Cabinet departments and dozens of smaller agencies will run dry on Dec. 7.

Judge Sets September Trial Date for Rep. Duncan Hunter
California Republican and his wife are accused of misusing more than $250,000 in campaign funds

Rep. Duncan Hunter will face trial starting September 10, a federal judge in California said Monday.

Hunter and his wife Margaret face 60 federal charges related to spending more than $250,000 in campaign funds on personal expenses such as family vacations and golf outings.

Jim Hagedorn Follows in His Father’s Office Footsteps
Minnesota Republican picks the same office suite as his father

Rep.-elect Jim Hagedorn got a little nostalgic Friday during the office lottery for incoming members of the 116th Congress. He picked Cannon 325 — the same suite his father occupied when he served in the House more than four decades ago.

The Minnesota Republican drew the number 45 earlier in the day, which meant he was relying on the 44 members who came before him in the afternoon office picking session not to choose the suite that holds special meaning for him.

Rep.-Elect Ben Cline Wins Raucous Office Lottery
Incoming Congress does the floss, impersonates Oprah at biennial tradition

It got raucous in the Rayburn Building on Friday as Virginia Republican Ben Cline pulled the lucky number during a lottery for incoming members of Congress. The reward was a coveted one: first choice of office space. 

Packed with 85 freshmen, plus their staff and press, the room erupted when Cline pulled the top number, giving him his pick of available office suites. He flashed a big smile as he turned around to face the crowd.

If You Get a Holiday Gift Basket, One Option Is to ‘Destroy’ It
House Ethics Committee reminds Congress that the rules still apply, even in December

Members of Congress and their staff got a friendly reminder Thursday that the House gift rule still applies, “even during the holiday season.”

The House Ethics Committee circulated a memo with guidance for navigating the tricky month of December, complete with steps for accepting certain presents and tips for handling an “unacceptable” gift.

Brenda Jones Sworn Into the House for Remainder of Lame Duck
Questions surrounded her unwillingness to resign from Detroit City Council

Michigan Democrat Brenda Jones was sworn into the House on Thursday for a brief term that will expire at the end of the 115th Congress. Her tenure is a break with more than 100 years of precedence since she will continue to serve in another elected office simultaneously. 

Jones won a special election in Michigan’s 13th District earlier this month to fill the unexpired term of former Rep. John Conyers Jr., a Democrat who resigned last December following accusations of sexual misconduct. Jones had also run for the full term that begins next year but lost in the August Democratic primary to Rashida Tlaib, who easily won the general election on Nov. 6. 

House Democrats Release 2019 Legislative Schedule
Calendar reflects accommodations for members with young families, Hoyer says

House Democrats have released the chamber’s floor schedule for 2019, which includes 130 days in session over 33 weeks and was tailored to accommodate the influx of lawmakers with young families joining the House next year.

“As we welcome a large class of new members, many with young families, next year’s schedule is focused on balancing time in Washington with time for Members to conduct work in their districts and spend time with their families,” incoming House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland said in a statement accompanying the calendar’s release.

High-Stakes Lottery Will Land New Members in Capitol Hill Offices
While many newly elected say they are just happy to be here, choice real estate is at stake

Every two years, the office lottery that closes out new member orientation becomes a delicate game of chance that will determine who gets choice workspace — and who must toil in the congressional badlands.

Each newly elected House member will take their chance and pick a numbered chip as they’re called by their last names in alphabetical order. The traditional room lottery draw is run by the Architect of the Capitol House Superintendent’s Office and kicks off at 10:30 a.m. on Friday. The chip number corresponds to the order in which they can choose an office.

Rep. Karen Bass Elected to Lead Growing Congressional Black Caucus
California Democrat replaces Louisiana Rep. Cedric L. Richmond

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus elected California Democratic Rep. Karen Bass to lead them in the next Congress, as the group crosses a milestone 50-member threshold.

The CBC is adding nine new members, bringing its total membership to 55. Bass, who currently serves as the caucus’s second vice chair, replaces Louisiana Democratic Rep. Cedric L. Richmond, who took the helm of the caucus in late 2016.

Chuck Schumer Celebrates Newest Title — Grandfather
New York Democrat welcomes Noah Melvin Schumer-Shapiro to fold

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer gained a new title this week — grandfather.

The New York Democrat announced the arrival of his first grandchild, Noah Melvin Schumer-Shapiro, in a tweet Wednesday.

The Paul Ryan Farewell Tour, With Dates in Virginia, D.C., and New York
Outgoing speaker to fete and be feted in series of ceremonies, speech

Paul D. Ryan is embarking on an award- and portrait-studded farewell tour as he enjoys his last weeks leading the House, culminating in a stop at the Library of Congress, where he gave a maiden speech as speaker nearly three years ago to the date. 

Since announcing in April that he wouldn’t run for re-election, the Wisconsin Republican and his staff have talked of the speaker “running through the tape” and saying goodbye at the appropriate time. Starting Wednesday, that time is apparently upon him.