rules-and-procedure

Justice Department Issues Indictment for 2013 Congressional Trip to Azerbaijan
Feds allege nonprofit concealed that trip was funded by foreign government

A 2013 congressional delegation trip to Azerbaijan has resulted in an indictment being handed down to the head of the nonprofit, whom the government alleges concealed the source of funding for the journey. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Justice Department has issued an indictment of former non-profit head Kevin Oksuz for his role in a plot to hide the fact that a 2013 congressional delegation trip to Azerbaijan was funded by that country’s government.

According to the indictment, which was unsealed Monday, Kevin, also known as Kemal, Oksuz allegedly lied on disclosure forms filed with the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ethics prior to, and following, a privately sponsored congressional trip to Azerbaijan. Oksuz ran a Houston based nonprofit that he is accused of using to funnel money to fund the congressional trip from an oil company controlled by the Azerbaijan government.

Location, Location, Location: Hearing With Kavanaugh's Accuser Could be in Tight Quarters (For Now)

Thursday's blockbuster hearing featuring Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser is scheduled to be in a tiny room, but that could change. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser Christine Blasey Ford are expected to testify Thursday in a tiny room before the Senate Judiciary Committee.  If the hearing is held in the small room as scheduled, there won't be much room for the public — including protesters — or reporters to watch the proceedings. But that could change. 

The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on tap for Thursday is set to be in Dirksen 226, a small room that can accommodate lawmakers, a few staffers and a witness, but not much beyond that. The highly anticipated meeting is sure to draw enormous media attention and throngs of protesters.

Kavanaugh Accuser’s Lawyers Negotiating Terms of Senate Testimony
Reports: Christine Blasey Ford doesn’t want Kavanaugh in room, wants to be questioned by senators

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is ready to return for more testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Christine Blasey Ford likely will not be testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, but that doesn’t mean she won’t be testifying at all.

Attorneys for Blasey Ford, the woman accusing Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her during their high school years,reportedly had a logistical conversation over the phone with Judiciary Committee staff Thursday night.

Russians Targeting Senate, Staff Personal Emails, Sen. Ron Wyden Warns
And the Senate sergeant-at-arms can do nothing to stop the cyber attacks — for now

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., told colleagues that Russian hackers have been targeting senators’ and aides’ personal accounts and devices. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Ron Wyden implored his colleagues to enact legislation that would allow the Senate sergeant-at-arms to provide cyber protections to senators and staffers for their personal devices and accounts.

The Oregon Democrat warned Senate leaders that the state-backed Russian group responsible for hacking the Democratic National Committee before the 2016 election, “Fancy Bear,” has also tried infiltrating the personal communications networks of senators and their staffers, including Wyden’s own aides.

15 Members Pledge to Withhold Speaker Vote Without Rule Changes
8 Democrats, 7 Republicans part of bipartisan Problems Solvers Caucus

Rep. Tom O’Halleran, D-Ariz., said he will not vote for a speaker who doesn’t back the Problem Solvers Caucus proposed rule changes for making the House more bipartisan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

At least 15 members of the bipartisan Problems Solvers Caucus have pledged to withhold their vote for speaker if the candidate that emerges as the majority party’s nominee does not back the caucus’s proposed rule changes.

The Problem Solvers unveiled a package of rules changes in late July dubbed “Break the Gridlock.” The proposals aim to open up the legislative process in a way that prioritizes bipartisanship.

Steny Hoyer Touts Oversight and Ethics Standards as Key to Trust in Government
Eyeing majority, Maryland Democrat and minority whip looks at transparency as winning issue

Hoyer layed out proposals to boost transparency, oversight and to strengthen ethics standards. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Efforts to boost transparency, ethics and oversight are among House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer’s strategies for restoring Americans’ trust in government if Democrats win the House majority for the next congress.

“Our people believe their government is rigged against them. This belief undermines trust in government and impedes our ability to govern,” the Maryland Democrat told a crowd Wednesday.

Good Government Groups Urge ‘Systematic Reform’ of House Rules
Demand Progress leads letter and white paper to Congress with recommended rule changes

Outside groups want the U.S. House of Representatives to overhaul its rules. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Twenty outside groups that seek to promote good government sent a letter to House lawmakers Wednesday morning, urging them to take back their individual power and overhaul the chamber’s rules. 

The letter, led by Demand Progress, outlines 10 principles that members should follow in crafting a new rules package

Government Overhaul Like ‘Caffeine’ for Economic Agenda, Dems Say
Minority whip to deliver speech Wednesday outlining campaign finance, voting, ethics, rules overhauls

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., will deliver a speech Wednesday calling for Democrats to quickly pass a government overhaul package in January if they are in the majority. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If Democrats win the House majority, Steny Hoyer believes their economic agenda will do better if they first pass a government overhaul package to help restore Americans’ continuously eroding trust in government.

“To regain that trust, our response must be vigorous and innovative,” the minority whip plans to say in a speech Wednesday morning, according to excerpts shared with Roll Call.

What Congress Wants to Study and ‘Explore’ About Itself
Dunkin’ Donuts, horse mounted police and leaky Cannon tunnel all will get consideration

Congress wants studies on police horses, flooding in the Cannon Tunnel, Senate child care and more. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

What to do with some basement ambience, Horse-mounted police and Dunkin’ Donuts are but a few questions appropriators want answered as they look to fund Congress and its agencies to the tune of $4.8 billion.The fiscal year 2019 appropriations conference committee report released Monday includes reporting requirements and requests for studies and explorations. Here are just a few: 

Conferees had some real talk about the tunnel that connects the Cannon House Office Building to the Capitol:“The current condition of the Cannon tunnel is that of a basement ambience,” said the report, “Furthermore the tunnel is subject to leaks which have recently caused the tunnel to be closed.”The report directs the Architect of the Capitol and the  Clerk of the House to develop a comprehensive plan to “enhance the tunnel,” including cost estimates, timeline, and renderings.

Too Soon for Rules Talk, Uneasy House Members Say
With House up for grabs, some lawmakers prefer to wait until after midterms

House Rules member Alcee L. Hastings, D-Fla., thinks Democrats should wait until after the midterms to discuss a rules package. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Revisiting the House rules is a normal task lawmakers undertake every other fall, but this year, several members are uneasy about beginning that process ahead of a midterm cycle in which the chamber majority could change hands.

Some Democrats don’t want to get over their skis by preparing a rules package that their party will only have power to implement if they take control of the House in November.