Sean McMinn

Lobbying Hits $3.9 Billion in Trump’s First Year
But number of disclosure reports falls short of President Barack Obama’s inaugural year in office

Lobbyists reported an uptick in tax and other federal policy work during the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency, but the money spent to influence the federal government still didn’t surpass the inaugural year of the Obama administration, a Roll Call review of new disclosure reports found.

The number of federal disclosure reports that lobbyists filed last year — 50,000 — fell short of the 58,000 reports filed during 2009, President Barack Obama’s first year in office. Despite the fewer reports last year, companies and trade organizations spent roughly the same amount of money to influence Congress and the executive branch — $3.9 billion — in both years.

There Are Just Hours Left Before a Government Shutdown. This Is Totally Normal.
Since the last government shutdown, last-minute spending bills are standard operating procedure

On the day that government funding is set to expire, confusion has gripped the Capitol as the House-passed continuing resolution faces long odds in the Senate. If lawmakers pull out a fix to keep the lights on past midnight, it will most certainly be with only hours remaining before a deadline.

This is completely normal.

Trump Used Twitter to Praise and Blame Congress, Yet the Hill Agreed With Him Most of the Time
Roll Call measured the sentiment of Trump's tweets, and Congress' presidential support score

President Donald Trump came into office with two chambers of Congress controlled by his own party. So it’s not surprising he got his way on almost all the votes he took a position on — a fairly typical barometer of a president’s legislative success.

But there’s another metric we can use almost exclusively for this president to measure his relationship with Congress: his Twitter account.

Visual Report: Jones Won the Overall Funding Fight in Alabama
Democrat raised more than double his GOP opponent, Moore

Democratic candidate Doug Jones raised a total of $11.5 million in the Senate special election through Nov. 22, while Republican Roy Moore totaled $5.2 million. Donors from outside the state funneled millions of dollars into the election, going mostly to Jones.

Jones Bested Moore in Alabama Fundraising Under National Spotlight
But both received majority of large-dollar donations from out of state

Alabama Democrat Doug Jones received almost a quarter of his $3.2 million itemized donations from within the state between Oct. 1 and Nov. 22, according to records newly released by the Federal Election Commission.

That’s more than the Senate candidate’s opponent, Republican Roy Moore, who netted 20 percent of his $861,000 itemized contributions from within the state during the same period of time. 

Moore Relied Heavily On Fundraising Outside Alabama During Final Campaign Stretch
Most large-dollar donations were from outside state in October and November

The Republican candidate for Alabama’s Senate seat, Roy Moore, raised three times more in big-dollar donations from donors outside his state than from those within Alabama, according to newly released Federal Election Commission data that covers Oct. 1 through Nov. 22

Moore, the former chief judge of the Alabama Supreme Court, raised nearly $680,000 in itemized donations from outside of Alabama during that time, and only $172,000 from donations within the state.

Fact-Checking Trump’s Claim on U.S. Attacking ISIS ‘Much Harder’
As the terrorist group loses ground, there are fewer targets to attack

U.S. and coalition strikes against the Islamic State terrorist group have fallen dramatically in the last month, despite President Donald Trump’s assertion last week that the military had hit the group “much harder” in response to a terrorist attack in New York City.

On Nov. 1 and 2, the days on which Trump said the military had stepped up attacks against ISIS, coalition forces launched 24 strikes in Iraq and Syria. That is less than half the two-day strike average for coalition forces since March 31, according to a Roll Call analysis of Defense Department news releases.

The Status of Guns in the U.S. — in 3 Charts
At least 58 killed in Sunday’s Las Vegas shooting

A gunman began firing on Sunday in Las Vegas on a country music festival. At publication time, at least 58 people were dead and over 500 were estimated to be injured in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Here’s a series of charts depicting the status of guns in America:

Strange First Appointed Senator to Lose Primary in Two Decades
Appointed senators have a track record of short tenures

Sandwiched between two of the most recognizable senators in Kansas history was a former lieutenant governor who served in the chamber for only five months.

The state’s governor chose Republican Sheila Frahm to take over Sen. Bob Dole’s seat in 1996 when he resigned to run for president. Frahm promptly lost a party primary to her successor, Sen. Sam Brownback, and her time in the national spotlight was over.

House Challengers Find Fundraising Success Outside Their Districts
Eleven Democrats have raised nearly all their money from other parts of their states — and beyond

Democrats are energized. They’re running for Congress. And they’re raising money — lots of it.

And for nearly a dozen Democratic challengers who have raised at least $50,000 in individual contributions worth at least $200 each during the first half of this year, more than 90 percent of the money raised came from outside their districts, a Roll Call review of Federal Election Commission data found.

How the Health Care Industry Has Been Giving to Congress
FEC reports show millions of dollars spent already this year


As health care came to the forefront this year in Washington, groups focused on the issue continued using their political action committees to attempt to influence the debate.

What 10 Hours of House Amendment Votes Look Like
How the ‘minibus’ process unfolded on the floor Wednesday and Thursday

The House on Thursday passed a nearly $790 billion security-themed, four-title spending package, marking the first set of must-pass appropriations measures to be cleared on either chamber floor this year.

But before they could take the final vote on the so-called minibus, House rules — which are agreed to in committee — set debate parameters that allowed for votes on amendments to the bill. Lots of amendments.

Democratic House Freshmen Show Fundraising Edge Over GOP Classmates
First-term Democrats outraise Republicans in first and second quarters

Corrected at 5:28 p.m. on July 24 | Republicans may hold the House majority, but that doesn’t give them every advantage.

With their first two fundraising deadlines behind them, Democratic newbies in the chamber are demonstrating their ability to out fundraise their Republican colleagues.

Congress Is Working More Than Average This Year: Three Days a Week
The last time lawmakers worked close to this many days was 2009

Republicans may be uneasy about the lack of productivity so far this Congress, but it’s not for a lack of time spent working.

Through the first half of 2017, the 115th Congress had more voting days than any previous Congress in the same time period, since at least 2009, a Roll Call review of CQ vote data found. The House held floor votes on 75 days and the Senate on 77 days. That means the chambers voted, on average, about three out of every seven days.

Salary Data Show Gender Pay Gap in Trump White House
Female office staffers are making 80 cents on the dollar, on average

Ivanka Trump’s voluntary $0 salary at the White House has been widely reported, but she’s not the only woman making less than her male colleagues there.

The annual report to Congress from the Executive Office of the President, released Friday, shows that women earn an average of $84,500, compared to $105,000 for men, according a Roll Call analysis of the salary data. That means female office staffers at the White House are making, on average, 80 percent of what their male colleagues make.

As Trump Sends More Nominees to Senate, a Backlog Is Starting to Grow
Administration picked up its pace of naming officials in June


The White House has picked up its pace of sending nominations to the Senate, though senators have continued to drag their feet on those submissions.

Measuring Chaffetz’s Legacy on Twitter
Utah Republican has been one of the House’s most active tweeters

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, one of the more prolific tweeters of the House, will need a new Twitter handle soon. The Utah Republican, or @jasoninthehouse as he’s known on the social media platform, submitted his resignation letter to the chamber June 23. He will officially step down Friday. His years in the House, which began in 2009, have closely aligned with Twitter’s rise in the political arena.

Among his compatriots in the freshman class of 2008, Chaffetz has been the most active tweeter. His 7,600 tweets and 276,000 followers are the highest counts among the House members who started their service in the chamber alongside him. His most popular tweets, measured by retweets, have all been about scandals surrounding last year’s presidential candidates, Democrat Hillary Clinton and President Donald Trump.

Roll Call Reporters Asked Members of Congress To Release Their Tax Returns. Here’s What They Found

Throughout last year’s election and continuing into 2017, Democrats and Republicans alike have called for President Donald Trump to release his tax returns. Members of Congress, however, have not faced such pressure to disclose their tax information. Roll Call reporters Stephanie Akin and Sean McMinn set out to answer this question: how many members of Congress will release their own tax returns?

Republicans Are 4-0 Defending Seats, but Could Still Be in Trouble
In each of the contested special elections, Democrats performed better than they had in years

Wednesday was a day for Republicans to rest easy. After winning the Georgia and South Carolina special elections Tuesday, the party avoided losing any congressional seats vacated by members who entered President Donald Trump’s administration.

But it’s not all good news for the GOP (or bad news for Democrats). In each of the four races where Republicans were defending seats — Kansas’ 4th, Montana’s at large seat, South Carolina’s 5th and Georgia’s 6th — Democrats did better than they had in any of those districts’ congressional elections since at least 2010.

Where the Cash Is Coming From in Georgia and South Carolina Special Elections
Out-of-state money is buoying Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff’s bid


Bipartisan love may be on display in Washington, but farther down the coast, a vicious political battle is underway for Georgia’s 6th District.