staffers

Russia Portfolio Comes in Handy for Senate Staffer
Shaheen aide Naz Durakoglu comes via Atlantic Council, State Dept., House

Naz Durakoglu is a senior foreign policy adviser to New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. (Screenshot, Middle East Institute)

Naz Durakoglu started her new job working for Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in early June, shortly after the New Hampshire Democrat had pushed to add Russia sanctions to an Iran sanctions bill as it moved through the Foreign Relations Committee.

But after Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker of Tennessee said he would move ahead with a bipartisan effort to tighten sanctions against Moscow, Shaheen withdrew her amendments. The timing, though, put Durakoglu, as a senior foreign policy adviser to Shaheen, in the middle of discussions about how to respond to Russia’s efforts to meddle in the 2016 election.

Zack Barth ‘Not Living in Fear’ After Congressional Baseball Shooting
Hill staffer talks about his shooter, his faith and life afterward

Zack Barth, an aide to Texas Rep. Roger Williams, was wounded in the leg during the shooting at the Republicans’ baseball practice in Arlington, Va., on June 14. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Zack Barth was never supposed to be dodging bullets in the outfield.

His job was to feed fly balls back to the infield for Republican lawmakers during an early-morning baseball practice ahead of the annual Congressional Baseball Game against the Democrats.

Ethics Committee Extending Conyers Review
OCE recommends panel investigate $50,000 paid to staffer on leave

The House Ethics Committee is looking into whether Michigan Rep. John Conyers Jr. paid a longtime staffer part of her salary while not performing official duties. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House Ethics Committee announced Wednesday it would extend its review of an inquiry into whether Michigan Democratic Rep. John Conyers Jr. paid a longtime aide more than $50,000 over a four-month period when the staffer might not have conducted official business.

A report from May by the Office of Congressional Ethics, with which the inquiry originated, detailed Conyers’ decision to place his then-chief of staff Cynthia Martin on leave without pay after she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor on March 30, 2016.

Ex-Staffer’s Country Music Tip Sheet Hasn’t Left D.C.
After leaving Capitol Hill, Kurt Bardella started ‘The Morning Hangover’

From left, Kurt Bardella, country music singer Kalie Shorr, and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., pose for a photo at the Congressional Women’s Softball Game, where Shorr performed. (Courtesy Kurt Bardella)

Former staffer Kurt Bardella is still finding ways to stay engaged with the world of Capitol Hill. 

In June, he arranged for country music singer Kalie Shorr to perform at the Congressional Women’s Softball Game.

Word on the Hill: Week Wrap Up
Tennis tournament results, Baby Desk report, bossy staffers

A Capitol employee pushes a cot towards Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s suite of offices in the Capitol on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It’s the end of a very long congressional week.

Senators spent the night in the Capitol and I’m sure many of you reading this now are running on little — or no — sleep.

Former House Staffers Indicted Over Nude Image Distribution
Charges involve private images of U.S. Virgin Islands delegate circulated last year

U.S. Virgin Islands Del. Stacey Plaskett said she was grateful to her constituents for their support during her family’s ordeal. (Courtesy Plaskett’s congressional website)

Two former staffers of U.S. Virgin Islands Del. Stacey Plaskett were indicted Thursday following an investigation into the circulation of nude photos and videos of the Democrat and her husband that one of the staffers found on her iPhone, the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Columbia said in a statement.

Juan McCullum, 35, a legislative assistant for Plaskett in 2015 and 2016, was indicted by a grand jury on two counts of cyberstalking for allegedly creating accounts on Hotmail and Facebook using a made-up name to distribute and post the photos and video in July 2016, the statement read.

Climate Change Activists Flood Capitol to Lobby Lawmakers
Merkley, Whitehouse and Fitzpatrick address concerned parents

Children join in as organizers set up a play area on the Upper Senate Lawn Thursday as part of the fourth annual “play in” demonstration on the Hill organized by Moms Clean Air Force. (Griffin Connolly/CQ Roll Call)

Climate change activists from all 50 states met with more than 150 lawmakers and staffers on Capitol Hill on Thursday, armed with personal anecdotes and data booklets to persuade members to take action on environmental issues such as air pollution and global warming.

The meetings were part of the fourth annual “play in” demonstration, organized by the anti-pollution advocacy group Moms Clean Air Force, which brought parents and their children to the Hill.

Congress Still Grappling With Cybersecurity Concerns
Experts say networks on Capitol Hill lag in basic protections

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, seen here at a 2015 #Hack4Congress event at Google’s offices in Washington, is one of several lawmakers who have pushed for improved security for congressional computer networks. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers and their staffs have been aware for years that their internet communications could be prime targets for both foreign and domestic spies.

But after last year’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee by Russian operatives, many are reassessing security protocols that once seemed sufficient — even overbearing — and finding them lacking.

Rare Bipartisan Internship Exists for North Carolina HBCU Students
Alma Adams and Mark Walker run a paid summer internship program

From left: North Carolina Rep. Alma Adams, Nasya Blackwell, Dariana Reid and North Carolina Rep. Mark Walker. (Courtesy Adams’ office)

Twenty-year-old political science majors Dariana Reid, a rising senior at Johnson C. Smith University, and Nasya Blackwell, a rising junior at North Carolina A&T State University, are interning in both a Democratic and a Republican office on the Hill this summer.

They are interns in the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Internship Program, which was established last year. The universities are located in the districts of two North Carolina lawmakers, Democrat Alma Adams and Republican Mark Walker, who teamed up to create the experience.

Staffer to Spend Recess Playing Tennis for Team USA
Natasha Dabrowski chases gold at the Maccabiah Games in Israel

Natasha Dabrowski, right, and her mother Chris Dabrowski, a former professional tennis player. (Courtesy Natasha Dabrowski)

The concept of representing the United States is nothing new for Capitol Hill staffers, but few get to do it with a tennis racket.

Natasha Dabrowski, communications director for the New Democrat Coalition, is off to Israel to represent the United States in the 20th World Maccabiah Games, an international multisport event for Jewish athletes. She is one of six Jewish female tennis players on Team USA.