house

House GOP Incumbents Spent Hundreds of Thousands in Legal Fees to Head Off Crises
Mia Love, Scott Taylor, Chris Collins and Duncan Hunter all face competitive races

Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., spent nearly $185,000 in campaign money on legal fees in the third quarter that ended Sept. 30. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

At least six House Republicans combined to spend more than $325,000 in campaign funds in the most recent quarter alone on legal or crisis management fees related to brewing scandals that have wended their way into the court of public opinion — and, in some cases, real courtrooms.

New York Rep. Chris Collins, whom federal authorities indicted on Aug. 8 on 10 counts related to insider trading and securities fraud, shelled out $30,980.25 from his campaign account to the D.C.-based law firm BakerHostetler just three days later.

Steve Bannon Aiming to Boost Chris Collins Re-Election Effort in New York
Former top Trump strategist headlining get-out-the-vote rally

Stephen K. Bannon is going to be making a campaign trip to Western New York next week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Embattled New York Republican Rep. Chris Collins is reportedly going to get a boost from Steve Bannon next week.

The controversial political strategist and former top adviser to President Donald Trump is scheduled to headline an Oct. 24 campaign rally at a fire station in Elma in Western New York that may not be specifically for Collins, but is designed to promote GOP candidates on the ballot there.

Blumenauer Sends Blunt Marijuana Blueprint to Democratic Leadership
Goal is to have Congress pass legislation by the end of 2019

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., wants Democrats to legalize marijuana if they take back the House majority. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer, one of Congress’s most vocal marijuana proponents, sent Democratic leadership a memo Wednesday outlining steps Congress should take to legalize the Schedule I drug.

“Congress is out of step with the American people and the states on cannabis,” Blumenauer wrote in the memo, citing polling showing that 69 percent of registered voters support legalizing marijuana. “We have an opportunity to correct course if Democrats win big in November.”

Democrats Spin McConnell Entitlement Comments Into Political Messaging
McConnell says Republicans cannot tackle program on their own but Democrats warn of GOP action

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., says a vote for the GOP is a vote to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, spinning Senate Majority McConnell’s comments that Republicans can’t execute that goal on their own. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats are spinning comments Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently made on overhauling entitlements to craft a political message that electing Republicans will lead to cuts in safety net programs. 

“Sen. McConnell gave the game up in his comment yesterday,” Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen, who chairs the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said on a press call Wednesday. “It was very clear from what he said that a vote for Republican candidates in this election is a vote to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. That’s what he said.”

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill?
Short-lived stint for Bono, Lieu’s wife on the ballot, and the Stanley Cup is in the Capitol

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. Some of the best are ones we come across while reporting the big stories.

There is life beyond legislating, and this is the place for those stories. We look for them, but we don’t find them all. We want to know what you see, too.

Mia Love Claims FEC Cleared Her — Others Say Not So Fast
Utah GOP rep raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for primary race she didn’t face

Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, has been nagged by an ongoing dispute about money she raised for a primary race that never happened. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Utah Rep. Mia Love does not appear to be out of the woods just yet over a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission over funds she raised for a GOP primary race she allegedly knew she would not have.

That’s despite Love claiming in a statement Monday night that the FEC has cleared her of any wrongdoing after she agreed to re-designate roughly $370,000 in campaign contributions made between the GOP nominating convention in April and the June primary date, when Love did not face a Republican challenger.

Markwayne Mullin Says He’ll Fight Avenatti
Oklahoma congressman responds to Trump antagonist’s challenge to Donald Trump Jr.

Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., said he’s ready to climb into the cage with lawyer Michael Avenatti after he challenged Donald Trump Jr. to a mixed martial arts fight. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican Rep. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma, a former professional mixed martial arts fighter, challenged Democratic lawyer Michael Avenatti to “meet him on the mat.”

Avenatti and Donald Trump Jr. have sparred on Twitter in recent weeks over special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation and Avenatti’s rumored presidential ambitions. The rivalry took a surreal turn last week, when Avenatti challenged Trump Jr. to a “three-round mixed martial arts fight” with the proceeds going to charity. 

Republicans With Fundraising Struggles Have Outside Help — For Now
GOP groups had previously warned lawmakers to step up their game

Rep. Steve Knight, R-Calif., has been outraised by his Democratic opponent, Katie Hill, but Congressional Leadership Fund is still spending for him in California’s 25th District. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Scores of Republicans were once again outraised by their Democratic opponents in the recently concluded third quarter. And GOP outside groups now have to decide how to best allocate their finite resources with less than three weeks to go until Election Day. 

The two major Republican groups that spend in House races — the National Republican Congressional Committee and the House leadership-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund — have already begun to move money to different races, as have their Democratic counterparts, in an end-of-cycle process known as “triage.”

The Political Class Got 2016 Wrong. Could We See a Repeat?
What’s possible is sometimes more important than what’s probable

The difference between what was probable and what was possible in 2016 was the difference between a President Clinton and a President Trump, Winston writes. (Meredith Dake-O'Connor/CQ Roll Call file photo)

“The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.”

So said Sherlock Holmes in “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” and the great detective’s observation may well apply to the upcoming midterm elections.

Pelosi Not Willing to Trade Over Border Wall, Calls It Trump ‘Manhood Issue’
‘It’s probably the worst way to protect the border,’ House minority leader says

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says she will not trade with President Donald Trump for his border wall, calling it a "manhood issue" for him. (Photo By Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday there is nothing she would trade for President Donald Trump’s border wall, setting a hard negotiating stance in advance of an expected December showdown over the issue.

“It happens to be like a manhood issue for the president, building a wall, and I’m not interested in that,” the California Democrat said during a discussion at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics.