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For Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), the apple doesn't fall far from the tree when looking for new staff hires.
The congressman's new chief of staff, Mike Hook, is the uncle of the congressman's legislative assistant, Erynn Hook. The 56-year old has come on board to replace Christopher Grant, who took a job with Axiom Strategies while being investigated as part of a state corruption case.
The Arizona State University alumnus began his political career with the Erie County, N.Y. government. After working at the county and state levels for five years, Hook joined former Rep. Bill Paxon's (R-N.Y.) staff as a district manager. After climbing the office ladder to the chief of staff role, Hook moved to the Republican Party, helping the GOP with campaigning in the late 1990s. Since then, he has registered as a lobbyist with Greener and Hook LLC and was the managing partner for Roland-Kelly Inc.
Like her uncle, Erynn Hook has also been in politics for her entire career. She joined Collins' staff as a staff assistant back in 2013 before eventually becoming a legislative assistant. The Williamsville, N.Y. native handles military, education, housing and ten other issues.
Mike's wife, Vicki, also made a name for herself on Capitol Hill. She was the chief of staff for former Rep. Vito Fossella (R-N.Y.) and the deputy chief of staff for Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.).
The company that is perhaps the most hated in America hired its first lobbyists this week as it continues to deal with the fallout from its decision to massively hike a drug's price.
Turing and CEO Martin Shkreli made headlines last week when the company decided to raise the price of the drug Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per pill, a 5000% increase. Now the company has turned to Buchanan, Ingersoll and Rooney PC, a Pittsburgh-based lobbying firm with a long history of representing pharmaceutical companies, to buttress its interests on Capitol Hill. The firm registered its new client on Sept. 29th and shows the lobbyists as Edward Allera, Michael Strazzella, Timothy Costa and Elizabeth Westbrook. Together they bring experience in the pharmaceutical industry and both state and federal government.
Turing's price hike also drew ire of several members of Congress. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), ranking member on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chastised Turing for its actions and warned that the company could be running afoul of government regulations. He has called for a congressional hearing on the matter. The Democrats on the House committee also moved to look into similar actions by Valeant Pharmaceuticals, which raised prices earlier this year. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) joined Cummings in a letter requesting information from Turing on their decision.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus responded to the public outcry by asking Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell what her department can do to address price hikes and whether they actively track other occurrences. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) put out her own press release calling on Congress to act and pass legislation she has authored to lower drug costs.
Response also came from the other side of the aisle. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) sent a letter calling on the Food and Drug Administration to fix a backlog of generic drug approval as a measure to ease upward pressure on drug prices.
A former aide to Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) has come back to the House after a two-year interlude at a D.C. lobbying firm.
Parker Reynolds joined the office of Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) this month as a senior legislative assistant, marking his second role as a congressional staffer after a stint with Foxx in 2011.
The move coincides with his departure from D.C. consulting firm McAllister and Quinn LLC, where he worked as a health analyst and registered lobbyist handling grant proposals from the Department of Defense and the National Institute of Health. Reynolds will be covering health care, social security, agricultural and transportation issues for Rokita.
Reynolds joined Foxx's office as a legislative correspondent from the Congressional Research Service in 2010. When he left Foxx, he worked as a specialist at Northern Virginia Community College where he advised veterans on their educational paths.
While working for Rokita, Reynolds is also completing a master's program at George Mason University and expects to graduate in 2016.
A policy adviser to Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) has left the office to spend more time feeling the effects of the sun.
Chris Rauscher took the position of director of public policy earlier this month at Sunrun Inc., a California-based startup that provides solar panel systems to residences.
Rauscher started as a legislative assistant in King's office in 2013 before being promoted to his most recent position of policy adviser in late 2014. In both roles he covered energy and environmental issues for King, who currently sits on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. He also served as assistant policy director of King's 2012 Senate campaign.
Before joining up with King, Rauscher worked as a freelance writer for five years and received his law degree from the University of Maine School of Law in 2012.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was praised by Democrats and Republicans alike after his announcement of his resignation last Friday, but congressional press releases about the event still revealed partisanship in the Capitol.
In the 171 press releases they issued, members of Congress on both sides of the aisle tended to thank the speaker for his service, wish him the best for the future and highlight his life's success from humble beginnings as the son of a Cincinnati barkeeper. Many also referenced the Pope's recent visit.
But underlying the praise for Boehner was a deep partisan divide, with Democratic releases bemoaning the state of Congress. "The Pope urged Congress to work together, but today Speaker Boehner apparently determined he cannot achieve this goal," said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.).
Democrats portrayed Boehner as a victim of radical ideologues from within his own party. Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), Rep. David Price (D-N.C.) and Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.) also expressed a deep cynicism that Boehner's resignation would alleviate any of the present dysfunction. Others, like Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) recognized Boehner as a pragmatic compromiser and said that "it's a gross understatement to say I will miss him."
Republican responses were much more mixed. Many from the GOP expressed support for the announcement and appealed for a stronger conservative to serve as the next speaker. Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) called for "bold, conservative leadership" in his release and was echoed by Rep. Scott DesJarlais's (R-Md.) statement that "Republican leadership needed a new direction," and by Rep, Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) who said, "we need bold leadership more than ever, and the speaker now has graciously given us that opportunity."
Republican members, like some of their Democratic counterparts, often prefaced their statements by acknowledging that they didn't always agree with the speaker.
According to LegiStorm's database of all press releases, the vast majority of the releases, 136, came from Republican members, comprising about 80% of the 171 total. Of these, 125 came from House members and 11 came from the Senate.
We spend a large part of our days looking at data. Documents often come in by the dozens and hundreds. And while most are boring - how interesting can staring at a phone directory or salary records be, for example? - we find daily reasons for interest, amusement or even concern packed in the documents. So we are launching a new running feature that we call "Caught our Eye."
Longer than tweets but shorter than most blog posts, Caught our Eye items will bring back the interest in reviewing documents and researching people. Some items might bring hard, breaking news. Others will raise eyebrows and lead some into further inquiry. Others might be good for a joke or two around the water cooler. All will enlighten about the people or workings of Capitol Hill.
Caught our Eye items will be published each morning for LegiStorm Pro subscribers. Non-Pro site users will be able to receive the news items a few hours later. In addition to having immediate access to the news, LegiStorm Pro users will have a handy way to search and browse all past items.