mike lee

Utah Senator Meets Inmate Who Inspired Sentencing Law Rewrite

Sen. Mike Lee has told the story of Weldon Angelos’ prison term hundreds of times, describing the 55-year sentence over three marijuana sales in 72 hours as “crazy” and “nuts.”

Mike Lee in the Middle of Reconciliation Battle

Lee, center, is joining fellow Republicans Rubio, left, and Cruz in pushing leadership on the Affordable Care Act. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Mike Lee will find himself in the middle of the debate on the Affordable Care Act on Monday, as well as between two colleagues running for president.  

The Utah Republican and chairman of the  Senate Steering Committee is joining fellow Republicans Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida in their opposition to anything short of a full repeal of the law. The topic will likely come up in a meeting Monday of Senate Republicans, and the chamber could begin debating it under the budget reconciliation process as early as Dec. 2.  

Why Mike Lee Won't Do Hallway Interviews

Lee says he won't be doing hallway interviews anymore. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Mike Lee is no longer taking hallway interviews. While any senator might decline to answer a particular question (sometimes it's the wrong question, the wrong reporter or the wrong time), the Utah Republican, around September, joined a small group of senators who will not take questions from reporters in between points A and B, where most members of the press buttonhole lawmakers on any topic that comes to mind.  

Lee told CQ Roll Call — as part of a wide-ranging interview in his Senate office Thursday — that most questions thrown at him are generally not of the "yes" or "no" variety, and he said he felt he was often giving them short shrift.  

Rand Paul Goes Viral, Thanks to Mike Lee

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rand Paul's late-night budget deal filibuster bid picked up an unexpected boost from fellow Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah.  

Lee posted to his Facebook page a clip of the Kentucky presidential hopeful expressing on the Senate floor his opposition to the budget deal, which also suspended the debt limit beyond the 2016 elections.  

Laughs and a Hug at Sentencing Overhaul Unveiling (Video)

Sen. Cory Booker and several other members of the Senate Judiciary Committee unveiled a bipartisan overhaul to the criminal justice system. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Cory Booker stood on a platform with eight other senators, holding back his desire to hug them all.  

The New Jersey Democrat was gushing with joy as he and many members of the Judiciary Committee announced a major overhaul to the criminal justice system, particularly on sentencing and recidivism reduction. The effort uniting senators from across the political spectrum, as well as disparate interest groups, is particularly notable in a Congress known more for hyper-partisanship.  

Mike Lee's Missed 'Fast-Track' Vote Causes Discord, Confusion

Lee and Cornyn talked Monday, a day before the trade vote. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Mike Lee had said he supported a stand-alone measure to revive Trade Promotion Authority, but when the vote was called, the Republican was still in Utah.  

The speculation was that Lee avoided a floor vote after Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, announced in an opinion piece that he would reverse course and oppose the bill, demanding a commitment to shut down the Export-Import Bank and making other requests for amendments. But, to hear Lee's office tell it, the decision to miss the vote was due to a family commitment — seeing his sons back in Utah, who had just recently returned from Mormon missions.  

Bipartisan Bedfellows Push Overhaul of Prison, Sentencing Systems

Booker, left, wants to continue working on prison overhaul. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With Republicans set to have control of both chambers of Congress, there has been no shortage of talk of leaving the dysfunction of the 113th Congress behind and focusing on areas of compromise in the coming year.  

One possible area (which is off most political radars) is overhauling the prison and sentencing systems, an issue on which Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky.; Cory Booker, D-N.J.; Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, agree. They'll all still be around in the 114th Congress.

Donor Admits Giving $150K to Straw Donors for U.S. Senate Candidates

A businessman has admitted providing $150,000 to straw donors who then contributed to candidates in the 2010 U.S. Senate election in Utah.  

Jeremy Johnson, a Utah businessman, stated in an affidavit, he laundered $50,000 through straw donors to the 2010 campaign of Sen. Mike Lee , R-Utah, and $100,000 to Mark Shurtleff, R-Utah, who was considering a 2010 Senate race, but later dropped out.  It is illegal to give contributions in the names of others in federal elections.  

Orrin Hatch, Mike Lee Diverge on Gay Marriage's Fate in Court

Hatch, right, and Lee see the fate of gay marriage in the courts differently. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A former Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is calling legal gay marriage inevitable, while his home-state colleague is not so sure.  

"Lets face it. Anybody that does not believe that gay marriage is going to be the law of the land just hasn't been observing what's going on," Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, told KSL radio on Wednesday. "The trend right now in the courts is to permit gay marriage and anybody who doesn't admit that just isn't living in the real world."  

Sarah PAC Increases Giving to U.S. Senate Candidates

The federal political action committee of former Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin  has had sudden surge in giving to U.S. Senate candidates around the country.  

Sarah PAC, reported  it had receipts of $430,217 and disbursements of $461,368 during the first quarter of the year, leaving $1,086,533 cash on hand as of March 31st.