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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.

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.”

Analysis: Mike Pence Works the Trenches
Vice president plays small ball, seeking to shore up support

Vice President Mike Pence greets tourists in the Capitol Rotunda on May 2. He has been busily addressing key issue-specific groups, trying to shore up support with key voters. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Donald Trump and Mike Pence are the most effective pitchers in the Republican bullpen. The president has the starpower and gets the headlines, but the vice president’s emerging role could be just as valuable.

Trump is the flame-throwing closer with one pitch: his signature sharp rhetoric that metaphorically is his political fastball. But Pence’s recent public appearances showcase his role as the in-the-trenches long reliever who huddles with GOP members and reassures key constituent groups, and could be even more valuable.

Opponents, Led by Sanders, Mobilize to Fight Health Care Bill
With days before a possible vote in the Senate, activists hit the streets

Sen. Bernie Sanders at a June 2016 rally. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Bernie Sanders will spend his weekend pressuring Republican colleagues in the Senate to vote against the Republican health care bill as Republicans hope to bring it to a vote next week.

That’s one tactic of many that Democrats and aligned groups are using to prevent the bill from clearing the Senate and replacing the 2010 health care law.

Trump Says Senate GOP Health Care Holdouts Are ‘Four Good Guys’
President appears eager to avoid offending conservative senators in quest for 50 votes

President Donald Trump told Fox News four Senate Republican holdouts on the health care bill want to see some changes, “and we’ll see if we can take care of that.” (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump called four conservative holdouts who could wreck Senate Republican leaders’ health care bill “good guys,” saying there is a “narrow path” to win their support and pass the measure.

Hours after Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and other GOP leaders briefed senators on then released a “discussion draft” of a bill that would repeal and replace the 2010 health law, GOP Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah announced they could not support the bill as-is.

Meet the Man Behind the Ossoff Campaign — He’s Just Getting Started
Keenan Pontoni’s a rising star in a party desperate for fresh blood

Keenan Pontoni, campaign manager for Democrat Jon Ossoff in Georgia’s 6th District, conducts one final tele-town hall session in his Sandy Springs office on the final day of the runoff campaign. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — Just 45 minutes after polls closed Tuesday in Georgia’s 6th District, Keenan Pontoni knew Jon Ossoff was in trouble.

The Democratic candidate’s advantage in early voting didn’t look like it was going to be enough to make up for Republican turnout on Election Day.

Rural Areas Brace for Health Care Bill Impact
Senate GOP bill could undermine health insurance coverage

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is concerned her state's residents could lose out on health insurance safeguards. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate historically has paid special attention to the needs of rural areas, but as the chamber readies its health care bill, there are concerns that the bill would undermine coverage in those places more than anywhere else.

While the exact text of the Senate bill is not yet posted publicly, all signs point to somewhat similar language to the House bill (HR 1628), which would reduce funding for Medicaid compared to current law and impose caps on Medicaid funding. Under the House bill, older people also would face higher premiums — and rural areas tend to be home to a large number of older Americans.