Controversy Swirls as Lawmakers Eye Campaign Finance Changes
Possible Johnson amendment repeal is among most-watched developments

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., concludes a news conference after the Senate Policy luncheons in the Capitol on March 20, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers continue to debate major changes to political money regulations as part of a year-end spending package, despite opposition from numerous congressional Democrats and campaign finance watchdog groups.

Even with congressional primaries already underway, the proposals could play out in the November midterm elections if enacted, campaign finance experts on both sides of the debate say.

Corruption Trial Begins for Former Rep. Steve Stockman
Prosecutors call the allegations against former Republican congressman a ‘white-collar crime spree’

Former Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, and two aides are accused of using $1.25 meant for charitable groups for campaign and personal expenses. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The corruption trial for former Texas Rep. Steve Stockman, accused of using charitable donations for campaign and personal use, is set to begin on Monday.

Prosecutors in the case have called the allegations against the former Republican congressman a “white-collar crime spree,” the Houston Chronicle reported.

DCCC Raised $10.6 Million in February
House Democrats’ campaign arm breaks fundraising record for the month

The DCCC, chaired by New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján, broke its February fundraising record this year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised nearly $10.6 million in February.

That’s the most the committee has ever raised during the second month of the year, according to figures obtained first by Roll Call. 

Conor Lamb Helps Democrats Raise Campaign Cash
Pennsylvania special election results spurs fundraising pitches

A supporter holds up a lamb cutout before Conor Lamb, Democratic congressional candidate for Pennsylvania's 18th district, spoke to supporters at an election night rally March 14, 2018 in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Democratic candidates and liberal organizations are seeking to capitalize on Conor Lamb’s apparent win in Pennsylvania, invoking his name in fundraising pitches nationwide.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers from Michigan to Nevada, along with groups focused on everything from political money to Social Security, are trying to seize momentum from Lamb’s showing in Tuesday’s special election to help them woo donors and to validate their policy views.

'Phase Two' of Tax Cuts? What Is Trump Talking About?
GOP source: Lighthearted or not, president's idea is going nowhere

President Donald Trump greets mostly Republican members after addressing a joint session of Congress in February 2017 as House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (clapping) looks on. Democrats were quick to exit the floor. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A second Republican-crafted tax overhaul bill? In a highly competitive midterm election year? President Donald Trump keeps suggesting Republican lawmakers should do just that.

Trump and Republicans late last year relished his lone legislative feat, a tax bill that slashed rates while also opening new Arctic oil drilling and nixing Barack Obama’s individual health insurance requirement. He threw a celebration party with all congressional Republicans on the White House’s South Portico and insisted on signing the bill into law several days early in a hastily arranged Oval Office session.

At the Races: Keystone State Nail-Biter
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns


Mark Your Calendars: The second congressional primaries in the country are in Illinois on Tuesday. Democrats are targeting four GOP-held seats in the state, where EMILY’s List has played an early, influential role backing candidates it thinks will be viable in the general election. But the Prairie State primary that’s received the most attention is actually in a solid Democratic seat. EMILY’s List is involved in this race too (although it took a while for the group to endorse), and it’s quickly become a flashpoint in the fight over the identity of the Democratic Party. On one side is first-time candidate Marie Newman, who’s backed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (who carried the 3rd District in 2016), two members of the Illinois delegation (pictured above), New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, SEIU and a coalition of reproductive rights and progressive groups.

Plenty of Pitfalls for Hill Staffers Doing Campaign Work
Lines between official and campaign time can be murky

Staffers doing campaign work have to make sure they’re not doing it on government time. But there’s no set way to keep track of that time. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With campaign season here, Hill staffers are likely to find their duties expanding with election-related tasks.

Press secretaries and senior staff doing paid or volunteer campaign work routinely flock to nearby coffee shops with their personal laptops to send campaign press releases or go on walks to take reporters’ calls about their boss’s re-election. Campaign work has to be done on staffers’ own time, off government property.

Chris McDaniel Will Run for Cochran Seat in Special Election
McDaniel had already launched a primary challenge to Roger Wicker

Chris McDaniel, Republican candidate for Mississippi Senate, speaks with patrons of Jean’s Restaurant in Meridian, Miss., May 29, 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel announced Wednesday he will switch from challenging GOP Sen. Roger Wicker in a primary to running in the November special election for resigning Sen. Thad Cochran’s seat. 

“By announcing early, we are asking Mississippi Republicans to unite around my candidacy and avoid another contentious contest among GOP members that would only improve the Democrats’ chances of winning the open seat,” McDaniel said in a statement, alluding to Republicans’ loss in an Alabama special election late last year. 

35th PAC Boosting Morrisey with Digital and Mail in West Virginia
Super PAC attacks Jenkins for being “liberal Democrat”

35th PAC is supporting West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in the GOP primary for West Virginia Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A super PAC supporting West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in the GOP Senate primary is pouring money into mail and digital efforts ahead of the May 8 primary. 

Morrisey is competing against Rep. Evan Jenkins and former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship to take on Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin in November. 

16 Thoughts Without Even Knowing Who Won in Pennsylvania
Inside Elections’ Nathan Gonzales gives decisive takeaways from an undecided contest

Tuesday’s special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th District between Republican Rick Saccone, left, and Democrat Conor Lamb was too close to call. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The special election race for Pennsylvania’s 18th District is too close to call, but many of the takeaways are the same, no matter whether Democrat Conor Lamb or Republican Rick Saccone ultimately prevails.

There will be plenty of hot takes on the impact of President Donald Trump on the race. But I think there’s one undeniable truth: If President Hillary Clinton were sitting in the White House, Republicans wouldn’t have been sweating this race. If blaming their nominee helps Republicans sleep at night, then so be it.