scandal

Corrine Brown Defense Blames Chief of Staff
Former aide who accepted plea deal is focus as ex-lawmaker’s corruption trial begins

Former Rep. Corrine Brown and her attorney James Wesley Smith III, center, leave court in Jacksonville, Fla., after a pretrial hearing on April 5. (Bob Self/Florida Times-Union via AP)

Former Rep. Corrine Brown’s corruption trial opened on Wednesday in Jacksonville, Florida, with Brown’s defense placing the blame on her former chief of staff. 

The Florida Democrat is charged with 22 counts in a 24-count indictment that includes using her reputation to solicit donations to a charity that she and her former chief of staff used as a slush fund, according to First Coast News.

Clay Brings Controversial Constituent Painting to House Floor
Missouri Democrat said Speaker Ryan should be “ashamed” of himself

Rep. William Lacy Clay next to his constituent’s painting on the House floor on April 26. (CSPAN screenshot)

A controversial painting from the Congressional Art Competition for high school students made an appearance on the House floor Wednesday.

Missouri Democrat William Lacy Clay brought his constituent’s artwork “Untitled #1” to the floor to defend the piece that depicted police-community relations in Ferguson, Missouri.

Lawmakers Wary of Russia’s Ability to Plant Cyber Dirt
Moscow’s alleged meddling not just a thing of the past, officials warn

Maine Sen. Angus King said at a hearing last month on Russian cyber operations that Americans should be concerned about being compromised by fake information planted on their computers, and not just the stealing of emails. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In a brief and largely overlooked exchange between Sen. Marco Rubio and America’s top spy during a January hearing about Russia’s alleged election meddling, the Florida Republican sketched out what he fears could be the next front in the hidden wars of cyberspace.

Could Russian hackers, Rubio asked then-Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., hypothetically gain access to a U.S. lawmaker’s computer, plant criminal evidence on the device of, say, child pornography or money laundering and then tip off law enforcement?

Opinion: Scorecard — America After 100 Days of Trump
The good news is maybe the nation will endure the next four years

The good news is  despite President Donald Trump, the nation may weather the next four years, Walter Shapiro writes. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

It may be news to Donald Trump that the original One Hundred Days ended with Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo. In fact, if Trump learned about Napoleon from “Fox & Friends,” he would probably snarl, “I like my conquerors of Europe not to end up exiled to an island so remote you can’t even build a world-class hotel on it.”

The news media may be reeling in an era of fake news, but nothing halts the journalistic passion for predictable rituals like toting up presidential accomplishments after 14 weeks and 2 days in office. Trump himself would admit that he is no Franklin Roosevelt. After all, the 45th president would have spurned marrying a woman like Eleanor Roosevelt — who was never mistaken for an international fashion model when she was touring coal mines on behalf of FDR.

Ethics Group Questions Hank Johnson’s Ossoff Help
Conservative nonprofit says Georgia Democrat used House website to help 6th District campaign

Georgia Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson is being accused of using his House website to help the campaign of John Ossoff. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A conservative-leaning ethics foundation filed an inquiry Monday with the Office of Congressional Ethics, asking it to look into Rep. Hank Johnson’s use of official resources to help Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff’s campaign.

Johnson, himself a Georgia Democrat, posted links to stories about Ossoff and problems with people finding where to vote in that state’s 6th District on his official House website, violating the chamber’s ethics code, according to a copy of the inquiry lodged by the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, also known as FACT.

Governor Moves Special Election for Alabama Senate Seat
Jeff Sessions vacated seat in February to become attorney general

Alabama Sen. Luther Strange was appointed to the Senate in February by Gov. Robert Bentley. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican Sen. Luther Strange will be running for election one year sooner than expected, after Alabama’s new governor moved the special election for his seat from November 2018 to December 2017.

Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement Tuesday that she moved the date up to comply with state law on special elections. Strange’s GOP predecessor, Jeff Sessions, vacated the seat in February after he was confirmed as attorney general. Then-Gov. Robert Bentley appointed Strange to the seat.

Senator Plots Bill to Prevent a Repeat of United Airlines Episode
Van Hollen seeks support for ‘Customers Not Cargo’ Act

Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen says his draft bill aims to avoid a repeat of the United Airlines incident at Chicago O’Hare on Sunday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Chris Van Hollen is drafting legislation to make the forcible removal of passengers from commercial airlines illegal.

The Maryland Democrat circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter Wednesday, seeking co-sponsors for what he is billing as the “Customers Not Cargo Act.”

Corrine Brown Hands Out Ice Cream Before Hearing
Last pretrial proceeding before the start of her federal fraud trial

Former Florida Rep. Corrine Brown said she wasn’t trying to encourage people to contribute to her defense fund, “but I hope they will.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Rep. Corrine Brown handed out fudge pops and ice cream sandwiches down the street from a Florida courthouse Wednesday, hours before the final pretrial hearing in the federal fraud case against her.

“I am just thanking people for their support, their prayers,” the Florida Democrat told First Coast News from an ice cream truck parked outside Jacksonville City Hall. “They've been there for me and I just wanted to come out and say thank you.”

Nunes Steps Aside From Russia Investigation
House Intelligence chief has faced criticism for his handling of the probe

House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes is stepping aside from leading the Russia investigation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes announced Thursday that he is temporarily stepping aside from the panel’s probe into Russian interference in last fall’s election and ties between President Donald Trump’s campaign team and Russian officials. The House Ethics Committee is investigating Nunes’ conduct.

The California Republican, a Trump supporter, has faced Democratic calls to relinquish his chairmanship over criticism that he could not lead an impartial investigation. His announcement said he would remain as chairman, but would allow GOP Reps. K. Michael Conaway of Texas, Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, and Tom Rooney of Florida to temporarily take control of the investigation.

Pileup of Ethical Issues Gives Democrats Powerful Weapon Against Trump
Fog of suspicion continues to dog president on all sides

President Donald Trump faces a motivated Democratic opposition aiming to weaken his power and thwart his administration’s policy agenda at every turn. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

A small, previously obscure federal ethics office has catalogued a burst of inquiries and complaints from the public — more than 30,000 — since Donald Trump’s election as president, compared to a few hundred in all of fiscal 2015.

The huge increase in public outreach to the Office of Government Ethics reflects an administration with unprecedented corporate entanglements and an outwardly blase approach to ethics statutes and the truth, as well as a flair for scandal and drama.