icnw

Return of the Inauguration Crowd Size Matter
Unnamed complainant alleges Park Service mishandled photos

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer makes a statement to members of the media at a White House briefing on Jan. 21. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

A new Interior Department inspector general report is further muddying the already murky situation surrounding White House claims that the crowd at President Donald Trump’s inauguration was the largest in American history.

The report found “no evidence to substantiate” complaints that National Park Service employees altered records related to crowd-size estimates for Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration. The IG also investigated and found no evidence to support the unnamed complainant’s allegation that a Park Service employee mishandled photos of the event and posted political comments on Facebook.

Ex-Staffer and Lobbyist Took Pre-Election Leap to Antiques
Daphna Peled recently opened Pillar & Post in Georgetown

Daphna Peled recently opened Pillar & Post in Georgetown. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A few miles from the Capitol, in what feels like a getaway from political turmoil, lies a piece of vintage British culture in Washington.

Former Capitol Hill staffer turned lobbyist Daphna Peled left her political career to start Pillar & Post, an antique shop in Georgetown that sells British furniture and decor such as tea sets, pillows and artwork.

Word on the Hill: Celebrity Chef in Hart
Bus tour and a hand chain for health care

Food Network chef Robert Irvine is bringing dessert to the Hill. (Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images file photo)

Desserts prepared by a celebrity chef are making their way to Capitol Hill this afternoon.

Chef Robert Irvine, best known for the Food Network’s “Dinner: Impossible” and “Worst Cooks in America” will join Hire Heroes USA and Walmart for an event to support veterans. He’s planning to man three dessert stations and serve as emcee.

Security Boost in House Legislative Branch Bill Approved
More funding for Capitol Police and sergeant-at-arms, among others

Capitol Police would get a boost from the Legislative Branch spending bill being considered in the House. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

House appropriators have approved a fiscal 2018 Legislative Branch spending bill that would boost security both at the Capitol and in members’ districts.

The House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee at a brief meeting on Friday approved by voice vote the $3.58 billion fiscal 2018 Legislative Branch measure. No amendments were offered.

What Voters Can Learn From Tax Returns
Tax returns and annual financial disclosures contain different information

Tax returns provide snapshots of an individual’s annual net taxable income. (Courtesy Ken Teegardin/Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)

Candidates and members of Congress are required by law to file personal financial disclosures that are designed to shed a light on their potential conflicts of interest.

These documents show a lawmakers' assets and liabilities, reported in broad ranges. Tax returns, in contrast, provide snapshots of their annual net income, are subject to audit and require taxpayers to report specific amounts.

In Tax Return Secrecy, Congress Unites
What some lawmakers said when we asked for copies of their returns

Only 37 of 532 members of Congress responded when Roll Call asked for copies of their tax returns. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

No matter what their political affiliation, members of Congress have this in common: They don’t like releasing their tax returns. Only 37 of the 532 members of the House and Senate responded when Roll Call asked for copies of their tax returns over several weeks, starting in April. Most of them declined to release their tax returns.

Here are some of their responses.

Lawmakers Want Trump’s Tax Returns, but Won’t Release Their Own
Only a handful willing to release documents to Roll Call

New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján has called on President Donald Trump to release his tax returns. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Ben Ray Luján — like many in Congress — wants President Donald Trump to release his tax returns.

Transparency, the New Mexico Democrat said recently in a Facebook post, “is a cornerstone of democracy.”

The Senate at a Deliberative Crossroads
Health care debacle challenges unique traditions, process

Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune highlighted bipartisan work ongoing at the Commerce Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The release of the Senate Republicans’ draft health care measure, coming on the heels of the demise of the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees, provoked a spasm of hard feelings in the chamber and questions about whether senators could restore its now-quaint reputation as the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body. 

“This is not the role model in my world, but I also understand that when the Democrats say, ‘We’re not going to vote for anything,’ that limits the options,” said Sen. Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican. “But, I would love to see a Senate that functions, in which all hundred senators have the opportunity to present ideas, amendments and take votes.”

Word on the Hill: Last Week Before Recess
Your social calendar for the week

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was spotted making his way to the Capitol office of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It’s the last week before the July Fourth recess, when Congress takes a break to celebrate the national holiday.

On Thursday, we’ll tell you what some members do for the Fourth.

Gomez Swearing-In Delayed By Cap-and-Trade Vote
Source: Week of July 10 earliest Gomez could be sworn in

Jimmy Gomez has received endorsements from party leaders and progressive groups. (Photo courtesy of Gomez campaign)